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Despite being in their inaugural year of stage rallying, British Rally Championship Cadet Cup duo Alex Waterman and Harry Thomas will launch themselves into the toughest event of their career as they contest Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship, Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (26-29 October).

After finishing their very first season in the sport in a Cadet category podium position, Waterman and co-driver Thomas will now take the leap onto the world stage in the same EDSL backed Ford Fiesta R2 they used during their domestic championship assault.

Waterman, 21 from Oxshot, Surrey and Thomas, 21 from Amersham, Buckinghamshire have enjoyed a fast-track start to their career and contested their very first event in November 2016. One year on and the duo have impressed onlookers with their progression throughout the season which culminated in a Cadet Cup category win at the Nicky Grist Stages in July, helping to secure a third spot in the series.

Following the theme of progression, Waterman and Thomas will now embark on one of the most famous events in the world, tackling over 300 kilometres of special stages spread across four long and arduous days. With British Championship events consisting of around half that distance, they will need to draw on all their experience from the past 12 months to be able to get to the end of the notorious event.

The Fiesta crew will be run by MH Motorsport for the event and Waterman has revealed that he had his eyes set on Wales Rally GB for some time. Thomas will tackle his first event after being selected to go forward to the MSA Academy Co-Drivers programme this week.

“We have pretty much had a dream season in the British Championship and our third place in the Cadet Cup was a real achievement” said Waterman.

“We had a goal of ending the season on a high and Wales Rally GB offers just that with the next chapter of our career. Ever since we kicked off our BRC season we had a real desire to compete alongside the best drivers in the world. WRC events offer valuable experience thanks to the mileage, format and stages so it made sense to take up the challenge this year. Our plans for next year are still undecided however if we were to look at returning to the BRC next year Wales rally GB is now the finishing round so it would certainly be an advantage after competing this year.”

Both Waterman and Thomas follow in their parents footsteps as Alex and Harry’s fathers competed for around 30 years together but neither managed to contest the RAC Rally as it was then known. They are thankful to have the family support throughout this season and event.

“Our Dads have certainly taught us a lot about the sport and we owe a lot to them. They are always there by our side supporting us so a big thank you to them. It will be great to have them at Rally GB” says Alex.

Wales Rally GB will take a bumper entry into the depths of Wales for some of the hardest stages in the World Rally calendar and whilst Waterman is hoping for a finish on his WRC debut, their goals remain realistic.

“Finishing Wales Rally GB will be achievement in itself” he continues.

“But for us this is all about experience and so we will be aiming to build our pace throughout the event with the main aim of getting the competitive miles under our belts ready for next year. With such a strong R2 field including the European and British champion we don’t want to get caught up chasing positions. We have to realise we are in the older generation R2 and do not have the experience a lot of the others do. It’s certainly a huge challenge but I really can’t wait to compete on this one”.

The Dayinsure Wales Rally GB is the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship and is based at the Toyota plant in Deeside on the Wales border. After two days of pre-event reconnaissance on Tuesday 24th October and Wednesday 25th, Thursday 26th hosts’ shakedown and the opening Super Special Stage at Tir Prince.

Friday 27th takes crews into Mid Wales whilst Saturday 28th houses the longest day of the event with evening stages ensuring the leg finishes around 11pm. Sunday 29th rounds off the event with just four stages before the ceremonial finish celebrations in Llandudno from around 13.30 that day.

Waterman and Thomas will be supported by Pirelli, Speedline Corse UK and MH Motorsport for the event.

Image credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography

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