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Progressive British rally co-driver Phil Hall overcame some of the toughest conditions ever experienced in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship to secure sixth place at Marmaris Rally Turkey, finishing the season in 10th overall in the series last weekend (13-16 September).

The 29-year-old from Mansfield guided fellow Briton Tom Williams to an equal-best JWRC result on the rough and boulder-laden Turkish roads as the ultra-competitive single make series reached its climax after five hard fought rounds in Europe.

Despite a tough start to the season on the JWRC tour, Hall has guided Williams to a finish in all five rounds of the series so far. Neste Rally Finland stands out as a highlight of the season, taking sixth spot on one of the fastest events on the calendar as the youngsters aim to get the most from their identical Ford Fiesta 1.0litre EcoBoost machines.

The backed co-driver has brought plenty of international knowledge to the team thanks to multiple outings across the world, but was under no illusion that the final round in Turkey would be a difficult one. The event hasn’t been a round of the WRC since 2010 and with most of the stages an unknown quantity, a cautious approach would be required.

With the championship title out of reach, the aim would most certainly be to ensure Hall could make it through the event and after the first day of special stages, even that would be a feat in itself. After a super special stage around the Marmaris streets on Thursday evening, a brutal mix of large rocks and thick gravel lay in wait for the first full opening day, ready to claim anyone that wasn’t neat and tidy.

Hall’s experience would be called upon in abundance to ensure the duo would stay out of trouble, helping to mange the pace between competitive and preservation. With a gigantic 38-kilometre test opening the day’s proceedings, it would be essential to ensure they had a clean run through stages towards Mugla. Whilst a puncture hampered progress on stage four, the RAF Reservist would be happy enough with eighth JWRC after day one.

Despite the second day offering the slightly smoother open roads near rally base, there were still some immensely rocky sections intertwined in the stages which would need approaching with caution. Another puncture set them back early on, but Hall ensured Williams had a mature approach to the remainder of the day, making up one place into seventh spot overnight.

Sunday’s finale was packed into four tests, culminating in the Marmaris Power Stage. There was no time to relax however, and in the blistering Turkish heat Hall would need to keep concentration levels at an all time high if he was to ensure a solid finish and end the season on the right note.

Thankfully, after 312 kilometres of arduous special stages, Hall crossed the finish ramp on Sunday afternoon to equal his best JWRC result of sixth, and secure tenth co-driver in the championship.

“It has been such an intense event, I really think this was even tougher than Mexico in many ways” said Hall at the finish.

“There are so many things you train for like the heat and stamina but sometimes things really do surprise you and I think Turkey was one of those events. There were times where I was reading the pace notes like an asphalt rally, in very quick succession as the stages were so technical. But at the same time we were being battered from the rough stages, intense heat and dust it was an incredibly challenging event. Its very rewarding to have finished the event without having to restart under Rally2 and its been a great way to round off the JWRC season. Experiences like this have been vital for the future and it’s been great to push myself in conditions as diffiuclt as Turkey”.

Image credits M-Sport/JWRC

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