So in 1989 the event ran as the AUDI SPORT INTERNATIONAL RALLY. Not only was it a full international rally but it was the last round of the British Rally Championship.
What a top twenty that brought. Led away by Timo Salonen, the 1985 World Champion in a works Mazda, it contained all the greats of British rallying. Malcolm Wilson, David Llewellyn, Colin McRae, Russell Brookes, Mark Lovell, Gwyndaf Evans, Louise Aitken-Walker, Dave Metcalfe, Andrew Wood, Jimmy McRae and Graham Middleton. The event also attracted Franco Cunico, the Italian national champion, Shin'ya Yamauchi, the Japanese champion.
Based once again in Telford the rally had over 90 competitive miles in 9 forestry special stages and 2 short super specials in Town Park. The first control of the event was in Welshpool, where the mayor flagged the 126 cars off at an early 07.00hrs.
Although Russell charged off into the lead in his Group 'A' Sierra from the start in a bid to win the Championship, he eventually suffered for his brave attempt and had a couple of excursions. He eventually finished in 8th position and out of Championship contention.
International rallying was still suffering from the fall out from the abrupt end of the Group 'B' era. On a very wet and muddy event it was the four wheel drive cars that battled for the win over the last two stages. Throwing caution to the wind Llewellyn overtook Salonen to take the event by 12 seconds and the Championship by a margin. Audi were happy even though they did not enter a car, they felt that David and his codriver Phil Short were part of their team having been under contract the previous year.
In all there were 87 finishers to the event and, as a sign of the times, 25 of those were Peugeots in the one make championship and 12 were Skodas doing their own Championship.
Another interesting fact about the entry was that there were 27 cars under 1300cc competing.
Have successfully delivered their first international event, the Club looked forward to developing the rally further to secure it's place in the premier British rally championship.