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Progressive Blairgowrie rally driver Finlay Retson will make his European rally debut next week as he heads to the second round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship Cadet Cup, the Renties Ypres Rally (22/23 June) in Belgium.

The 18-year-old impressed onlookers at the opening round of the series in Carlisle, setting the fastest time of the Cadet Cup contenders on each of the three stages he contested in the Kielder Forest at the Pirelli International Rally back in April.

However, sensor failure in his Ford Fiesta R2 sidelined Retson on the fourth test meaning he will head to Belgium with his hopes set on getting his BRC assault back on track at the two-day, closed public road event.

Although the youngster is just one year into his standard driving licence, he had been competing for several years in the F1000 Scottish Junior series for 14-17 year-olds, honing his skills on single-venue events. That experience will now come to fruition as Retson and co-driver Tom Hynd will make the trip across the English Channel in the DJR Services backed Ford Fiesta R2, with over 278 kilometres of flat-out driving ahead.

Contesting the British Championship Cadet category for older specification R2 machines, Retson elected to warm-up for his Belgian trip with an outing a little closer to home in May at the Granite Stages at Leuchars. A class win was the reward for his efforts on the first tar outing in the R2 and he now hopes to continue his run of form in Belgium.

Much like round one, Retson has no prior experience of the stages in the country and this will mark his closed-road debut, but one of the youngest competitors in the BRC is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“The stages in Belgium are legendary and I’ve heard a lot about them, but I know it’s going to be a really big challenge for me this week,” says Retson.

“There is certainly no margin for error and you only have to be an inch or two off-line and the huge ditches will suck you in. You may never come out again that day so it’s important to be as neat and tidy as possible.

This whole season is filled with ‘firsts’ for me and its all part of the development plan and gaining experience of events I’ve never done before. That’s the best way to improve and Ypres will certainly give me as much experience as I can handle that’s for sure.”

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

“To have been leading the Cadet Cup from the start at the Pirelli Rally was a big confidence boost. I know I have the pace, I just don’t have the knowledge yet, so I need to balance them both to ensure I get the results I want whilst keeping out of trouble. It will be an interesting event for sure. I need the points this weekend, so it will be a tough ask to pick up where we left off on the Pirelli (Rally) but I’ll be doing my very best”.

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

Image credit Jakob Ebrey Photography

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