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Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) co-driver Phil Hall secured his best ever result in the series last week, guiding fellow Briton Tom Williams to sixth overall at the legendary Neste Rally Finland (26 – 29 July).

Competing against 13 rivals in identical M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2T’s, Hall, 29 from Mansfield used his previous experience of World Championship events to better his previous-best seventh place at Vodafone Rally de Portugal in May. He picks up a valuable eight points for the impressive result as the season heads towards its climax in Turkey in September.

The backed co-driver has enjoyed an impressive run of form in the JWRC alongside Williams as the duo continue to build experience of top-level World Championship events. Hall brings a wealth of experience to the passenger seat with outings in New Zealand, Paraguay and the UK complimenting his assault on the FIA Junior World Rally Championship.

But the Neste Rally Finland is one of the most infamous events on the World tour. Ultra-fast stages, huge jumps and blind crests have beaten many more experienced crews over the years and for the Junior’s in the series the “1000 Lakes” would be a make or break event.

Hall would have the added advantage of contesting a handful of events the country with Tommi Makinen Racing in 2015 and 2016. His valuable knowledge of the geography of the stages would undoubtedly play its part during the week.

With a positive pre-event reconnaissance under his belt, Hall was in a confident mood heading into the event and coupled with additional work between the last round in Portugal and the Finnish tests, Hall professed to be looking forward to the event more than any so far this season.

Typically the stages in the event would be as hard as ever, with searing heat and dusty stages taking their toll on cars, tyres and the crew. In a test of fitness inside the car, Hall would ensure Williams could push the 1.0Litre EcoBoost Fiesta up the leaderboard and inside the top ten after the first loop of stages.

After 128km of special stage action on the opening day, Hall used his experience to guarantee Williams knew when to push and when to back off, ending the leg in ninth. Despite the characteristics of the stages changing for day two, their speed did not diminish and by the end of the second day, sixth place would be the reward for their strategy over the high-speed jumps.

The final day would see a combination of wide gravel roads, narrow technical sections and the familiar jumps of the event. Hall retained the composure in the car to ensure the duo crossed the finish ramp in a career-best sixth place.

“It’s been a textbook rally for us and I’m delighted to have taken my best ever JWRC result at such an iconic event as Rally Finland,” said Hall.

“Everything has really clicked this week and that’s a testament to the work that both Tom and I have put into our roles since the last round in Portugal. I’ve been working really hard on my stamina and fitness and that really showed on the recce. I think that was the best notes we have ever written and there is a direct link to our stage times.

Hall believes there was plenty to take away from the result.

“Everything is moving in the right direction and it was one of those events where we could show what we were capable of. We are growing together as a team and its an exciting time right now. Id personally like to thank my backers and the RAF for their ongoing support throughout this season.”

The final round of the JWRC takes place in Turkey in September.

Image credit M-Sport/JWRC

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