The British Rally Championship (BRC) kicks off this weekend with the Llandudno-based Cambrian Rally.

The popular annual event is set to offer up some of the best gravel stages in the world and will be a new rally for the BRC in 2019.

Stages like Clocaenog, Elsi and Alwen which are already favourites on the Wales Rally GB circuit and now become the gauntlet, as the cast from Britain’s premier rallying series goes head-to-head and against the clock over 53 miles.

North Wales Pioneer:

The streets of Llandudno will welcome the Cambrian Rally this weekend

Leading the BRC runners away will be defending champion Llandudno driver Matt Edwards and new co-driver Patrick Walsh.

The M-Sport pairing will be on home soil and the event is extra-special for Edwards as the stages are just a stone’s throw away from his home in Llandudno.

Edwards said he is keen to put in a strong showing at home to launch his title defence.

He said: “There is always the pressure of competing at home.

“I felt it a little bit on Rally GB last year, but the Cambrian will be the big one for me. It’s the event I would dearly love to win.

"Of course I will be thinking of the title again, so I would be happy with a top three to get the year up and running. It’s great to see the Cambrian as part of the BRC.

"I remember when the Vauxhall Rally of Wales came here, and it’s great to see the event go back to that sort of scale again.

"It’s going to be a brilliant way to kick-start a great calendar for the BRC.”

Whilst Edwards is keen to get off on the right foot, several drivers will be hoping to spoil his homecoming as they prepare to lock horns and do battle on the slippery Welsh gravel.

2011 Champion David Bogie in his Skoda Fabia R5 took the fight to Edwards last season and won on the Welshman’s home patch.

Along with co-driver John Rowan, the ‘Flying Scotsman’ will be pushing for a good start so he can be in title contention come his home round at the end of the year.

Joining Edwards in the M-Sport team once again will be Alex Laffey and new navigator Stuart Loudon in a sister Fiesta R5. Laffey finished runner-up to Edwards in the standings last year and will be vying for a podium on the Cambrian to add to his first one – achieved in the 2018 season finale.

Making a comeback to one of the most competitive national rally championships in the world is the rapid Tom Cave with new co-driver Dale Bowen.

The Welshman is another keen to shine on his home event as he brings the Hyundai i20 R5 back to the BRC.

Cave finished runner-up to Elfyn Evans in the 2016 series and will be pushing for one better this campaign.

For more details on the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally click here.