Perthshire teenager Finlay Retson has made blistering start to his bid for a 2020 berth in the Junior World Rally Championship.
The Blairgowrie 18-year-old is behind the wheel of an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2 in the Junior British Rally Championship for this season and an outstanding asphalt debut on the fast stages of Ireland has put the teenager in the lead of a chase for a 60,000 Euro prize to take his talent onto the international stage.
Former motocrosser Retson switched from two wheels to four whilst still a pupil at Blairgowrie High and bagged the Scottish junior rally series title for 14 to 17-year-olds in 2016 – before he had even passed his driving test.
Retson followed up a confidence-boosting opening round result in Wales with his brilliant sealed surface debut in the West Cork, posting a sixth place JBRC finish.
He and Kinross co-driver Richard Crozier tackled 15 flat-out stages covering more than 200 kilometres on closed public roads over the event’s two days.
The performance saw Retson become joint first Fiesta in the JBRC standings and in the thick of the battle for the 60k Euro prize fund towards a 2020 campaign in the JWRC thanks to M-Sport Poland and Pirelli.
Retson, who scored his maiden Cadet Cup victory overseas at the 2018 Ulster Rally in Antrim, was delighted with his debut asphalt showing in the new car.
“No one had really driven the 2019 specification cars on Irish lanes before so we had to find our own settings and I had to find what driving style suited that set-up best.
“It was undoubtedly a very steep learning curve but the main thing is we stayed out of trouble and scored more valuable points for the season. It’s a long year so every point certainly counts at this stage”.
He added: “The car is just fantastic and I`m learning something new with every mile I drive it.
“I’m now focusing on the Pirelli International Rally next month and as that is on gravel I have a bit better understanding of the car and the pace required,” said the MSA Academy Loughborough College student.
“The challenge will be finding a pace that balances a good result with a good finish. “It’s been a great start to the season so I’m really looking to continue that form heading into round three.”