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Progressive co-driver Phil Hall had a tough Dayinsure Wales Rally GB baptism last weekend (26-29th October) as he made his home World Rally Championship debut, sat alongside rising British talent Tom Williams.

Using an MH Motorsport Ford Fiesta 1.0 litre Ecoboost R2T for the very first time, Hall guided Williams to 5th in class RC2 and 51st overall, overcoming a damaged subframe and the use of Rally2 on Saturday’s leg of the event.

Hall, 28 from Mansfield, Nottingham has racked up nine FIA World Rally Championship starts in his co-driving career but had never contested his home round of the WRC. Hall would be reunited with Briton Williams after outings together in Finland, Germany and at the final round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, Rally Isle of Man.

Heading to the gruelling four-day event in the heart of the Welsh forests, Hall was looking forward to the challenge that Wales Rally GB brings, often dubbed as one of the toughest events in the WRC calendar. Despite competing in many of the stages before thanks to his national outings, Rally GB provided a fresh look on the slippery gravel tracks thanks to stages topping 35km in length. A far cry from the 10 or so km on the national circuit.

After a short spectator stage on Thursday night, the rally would get underway with a loop of three stages in Mid Wales on Friday morning, repeated later that afternoon. After finding their way through the tricky conditions in the morning, a solid run of top three RC4 class stage times found Hall and Williams ending the day in third.

Saturday provided a mammoth day with nine stages and 142km of special stages in store, two of which held under the cover of darkness. Impressing on their R2T debut, Hall would take Williams through the muddy stages and climbing to second in class was the reward for a consistent run.

Sadly damage sustained during the rough stages to the Fiesta’s subframe meant they would have to withdraw from the leg to enable the MH Motorsport team to repair the issue, ensuring they could complete the rally under Rally2 regulations. Missing the two night stages on Saturday, set them back to fifth in class as they started the final day.

A calculated run over the final five tests on Sunday ensured Hall could enjoy his home WRC debut and cross the finish ramp in Llandudno later that afternoon and the backed co-driver was pleased with how the weekend had gone.

“I’ve been wanting to do this event for several years now and to come here and be as competitive as we were in the class whilst using the Fiesta R2T for the first time is pretty satisfying,” said Hall.

“Tom and I work really well in the car together and that makes all the difference in endurance events like Wales Rally GB. The stages are mega and the days are long and you really need to be at the top of your game if you are to do well so its important everything clicks for us.

Hall believes the event was a valuable learning experience.

“We set some really good times this weekend and it was unfortunate that the damage put us out on Saturday but gaining experience of World Championship events is important as I further develop my career. You do keep learning all the time and each stage I contest gives me so much more to take to the next event. I’m pleased with the weekend and I look forward to working with Tom again in the future”.

Hall is sponsored by WWW.ITSMYMOTORSPORT.CO.UK
He is also supported by the MSA Academy and the Royal Air Force.

Image credits Jakob Ebrey Photography

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