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Blairgowrie rally driver Finlay Retson will take on the biggest challenge of his career this weekend as he kick-starts his inaugural season in the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship Cadet Cup at the Pirelli International Rally (28th April).

At just 17 years of age, Retson will become one of the youngest competitors in the series which takes in five rounds spread across the UK, plus a trip to mainland Europe. Retson, along with co-driver Tom Hynd will tackle the hotly contested championship in Retson’s newly acquired; DJR Services backed Ford Fiesta R2.

Despite having only held his licence for less than a year, Retson has been a successful competitor in the F1000 Scottish Junior series for 14-17-year-olds, managing to secure the title in 2016. After passing his test early in the year, Retson headed into the BTRDA Fiesta ST Trophy, where he took his inaugural win on only his fourth event in the car.

Retson has already started the season off on the right foot. Using the opening round of the Scottish Rally Championship as a warm-up, Retson took a class win whilst acclimatising to his new Fiesta on the Snowman Rally. He will now make the leap into the British Championship Cadet category, designed specifically for younger newcomers to the series.

Despite the steep learning curve ahead, Retson is relishing the opportunity to progress his rallying career.

“The British rally championship is the pinnacle of the sport in this country and in Europe too so this is really an exciting time for me,” he says.

“The Cadet Cup is the perfect place to start as well and will still allow me to compare my times against the juniors and the pace there is pretty epic. To a certain degree, I will need to do my own thing and I will be treating this as a learning year, getting used to the car, the events and everything involved with competing in a top-line championship.”

After the planned opening round of the season in Jedburgh was cancelled due to the “Beast from the East”, the series now kicks off with the Carlisle based Pirelli Rally. The event is based in the notorious Kielder Forest complex which is famed the world over for its super-fast stages, lined with cavernous ditches and unseen crests. Retson will need to adapt quickly to event which is new to him, as the rally will offer the chance to carry out a pre-event reconnaissance of the stages, allowing him to make his own pace notes which have been previously supplied by the organisers.

“We had a really good start to the season after taking a class win at the Snowman Rally in February so the confidence levels are pretty high right now,” says Retson.

“But it will be easy to get carried away. I have plenty of experience around me in the team and of course in Tom (Hynd) so I’ll be looking to them a lot of the time. But once the flag drops on the first stage it will all be down to me and I really can’t wait to get this season underway.”

Retson is supported by DJR Services, JSR Services – Blairgowrie Ltd, GS Robertson Ltd, LHS Logistics, Binn Group, JoAgri Ltd, Kevin Donachie Electricians, West Ranga Properties, Robert Morton Joiners & Contractors, Vital Equipment Limited, Andrew Wood Motorsport, CSP Abnormal Load Escorting, GLD Group and Results Gym Forfar.

Image credit Eddie Kelly Motorsport

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