James Williams was in a class of his own in his flying Ford Fiesta R2T in Belgium.

Tip-Top Rally Result For James Williams In Ypres

By Paul Evans

James Williams reckons that being in ‘top-top’ physical and mental condition helped him conquer the intense heat and long days to dominate the Junior section of the British Rally Championship on last weekend’s Ypres Rally.

Co-driven by Tom Woodburn, the 21-year old Newcastle Emlyn driver blitzed the competition to record fastest Junior BRC time on 15 of the 23 fast asphalt stages – finishing first JBRC, first in the BRC RC4 class, fourth in the overall RC2 category and an incredible 16th overall in his EDSL Sport-run Ford Fiesta R2T.

Having missed the previous BRC round, the Pirelli International, a textbook return drive by Williams saw him repeat last year’s JBRC win in Belgium, as he also came out top front-wheel drive car over the entire event, and in the process gave the new M-Sport built Fiesta R2T one of its biggest wins to date.

Ruiari Bell, expertly guided by 2018 BRC co-driver champion Darren Garrod, finished second in a similar Ford Fiesta R2T, while William Creighton/Liam Regan completed the podium with third in a Peugeot 208 R2.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to be back out in a rally car having missed the last round of the British Rally Championship,” said Williams. “We started the week as always in Ypres with a solid test, knowing that it would be somewhat unrepresentative but a good chance to make some vital changes to the car – and that’s what we did.

“Starting the rally, we knew the car had potential to be extremely fast, but it was going to be a serious task to go as hard as we did in 2018 and try to re-create what we managed to do in the Vauxhall Adam. The rally started just the way we wanted, and having been out of the car competitively for some time we needed to start strong and on the right foot. Taking the fastest time on the opening stage was exactly what we needed and really set the tone for the entire rally.

“From there we were able to manage the pace and really fall straight into a very nice rhythm without pushing too hard. Having finished Friday with an eleven second lead overall in the RC4 class we could go to bed happy with the day’s work, but knowing the real challenge was yet to come.

“Saturday was extremely difficult, the intense heat, delays, long stages and short road sections meant there was literally no time to stop and recoup, both physically and mechanically. Managing the brakes and tyres was a huge challenge, but equally important was making sure we got the right levels of hydration to continue performing and make no mistakes. Again, I have to thank my team for keeping us both in tip-top condition through the day.

“So knowing we’d put the hours in training from our previous round at West Cork and feeling much fitter and ready for the challenge the final loop of stages, we knew it was ours to lose and driving a clever loop was needed. We managed to keep our nose clean and out of trouble, braking earlier and generally being easier on the car, but still setting some great times. We pushed in the last stage and with two kilometres to go picked up a front left puncture! Fortunately we were able to continue slowly and not drop too much time.

“What a result for the car, the team and for us! It means the world to Tom [Woodburn] and I having the opportunity to be back at Ypres doing what we do best – and we’re so fortunate to have the best team around us. Also thank you for all the support throughout the weekend, it’s been truly humbling. Seeing Welsh flags on the stages is fantastic!”

Williams is supported by Day’s Rental, DKAN Groundworks, McCormack Drilling, West Coast Finance, Justin James Building & Carpentry, Pirelli, Morris Lubricants, EDSL Sport, Speedline Corse UK, West Wales Rally Spares, Hide Away Wales, Rally Team UK and Rallycover.

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