Perthshire’s Finlay Retson will embark on his Junior British Rally Championship campaign this weekend in the world-famous Welsh forest stages.
The Blairgowrie 19-year-old is making a return to the ultra-competitive series after a 2019 of ups and downs, with strong performances and podiums mixed with championship-deciding incidents.
He narrowly missed out on securing a €60,000 prize fund towards a Junior World Rally Championship campaign with M-Sport and Pirelli.
Retson will partner with new co-driver Rhys Stoneman for his career-defining campaign having already enjoyed success in the Scottish Junior series for 14-17-year-olds, the BTRDA Gravel Championship and the Fiesta ST Trophy, before heading into the Junior BRC feeder series, the Cadet Cup.
The Junior BRC will revert to a single make formula with the Fiesta R2 becoming the model of choice for aspiring youngsters aiming for the €60,000 prize fund and the chance to step onto the world stage.
“It’s like a reset switch has been pressed in the championship and with everyone driving identical machinery, it really does mean it’s down to the crew in the car to get the results now,” he said.
“We knew at the beginning of last year that the Junior BRC would take this format and so we committed to a three-year plan which would see 2019 count as my learning year.
“I learnt so much about the car and myself – some of that the hard way but it’s certainly made me stronger for the year ahead.
“It’s been really tough to raise the budget to compete this year and we have spent a lot of time working on getting backing to be there.
“We have just about made the cut to contest the opening round so at the moment we will be taking each rally as it comes”.
The Cambrian Rally kicks off the season in Llandudno and offers a short, sharp blast through the North Wales forests with over 43 miles of treacherous world-famous stages on offer.
“We really don’t know where the pace will be on the first round and normally, we would see where we are after the first loop and make a plan.
“But the event is so short it’s like a sprint and that means I think we are going to have to try and find the speed from the first stage. After last year, I know that every single point counts.”