Days don't get much better than this. The early autumn sun's just peaking over the trees, the Discovery 4 is fuelled and Rally GB co-ordinator Andrew Kellitt's sitting alongside. With breakfast behind us, we've turned left in Staylittle to find 19 of the nicest miles in the world waiting for us.
This is Hafren, where it's unlikely we're going to eclipse Sebastien Loeb's sub-19-minute effort on the identical route two years ago, but our agenda is different to the Frenchman's: we're here for a look at the first ever Rally GB to run entirely in Wales' top half.
We're trying to run through the stages at the right time, which is why we start with the first morning stage rather than the day one Gwydyr, Penmachno, Clocaenog night-time loop. More of those later.
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David Evans is the rallies editor of Autosport and Motorsport News. A successful rally driving father ensured an early introduction to motorsport and, fascinated as he was by rallying, the fourth estate was of equal interest. Having read (or at least looked at the pictures) from the age of two, he joined <i>Motoring News</i> in 1996 and later moved to Autosport in 2002.@davidevansrally More features by David Evans