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Eighteen-year-old rally driver Finlay Retson will make his southern Ireland debut this weekend as he contests round two of the Junior British Rally Championship (JBRC), the West Cork Rally (16/17 March).

The Blairgowrie ace will pilot his brand-new M-Sport Fiesta R2 at the iconic event and will aim to continue his winning ways after finishing first Ford home at the opening round of the series, the Cambrian Rally in Wales last month.

His confidence-boosting result has put him in a prime position to vie for a prize fund worth 60,000 Euros towards a 2020 campaign in the Junior World Rally Championship thanks to M-Sport Poland and Pirelli.

After an up-and-down season in the BRC Cadet Cup, driving an older specification Fiesta R2, Retson would progress into the hotly contested category in 2019 with the acquisition of the latest specification one-litre EcoBoost Ford Fiesta.

One of just three in the country, Retson has embarked on a full campaign in the new model and the southern Ireland event will mark not only his debut in the country but also his maiden outing on asphalt in the world-class machine.

Joining him in the co-drivers seat will be fellow Scot Richard Crozier and the newly formed duo will be looking to secure more points in the bag at the event which offers over 240 kilometres of driving during the weekend.

Retson was pleased with his Cambrian pace and will be doing all he can to retain that momentum in Ireland.

“I had everything thrown at me on the opening round and despite having to learn the new car with every passing stage, I was really pleased with how my stage times progressed during the day,” says Retson.

“Okay, I had a little off in the morning which took the front bumper off but that kind of thing happens when you are testing the limits and to come out with first Ford home at the end of the day was a pleasant surprise. The good thing is I know there is more to come and although next weekend will be a huge learning curve, I`ll be starting off on the right foot”.

Round two of the BRC will see the change from gravel to a sealed surface as the closed public roads around Cork play host to over 175 cars in the event. Retson secured one of the best results of his career across the Irish Sea at the Ulster Rally last season, winning the Cadet Cup category. He will need to call on all of his asphalt experience to make it through the weekend.

“In some ways, I think it will be like stepping into the Fiesta for the first time all over again,” he says.

“I`ll really need to acclimatise to the car and how it handles on the bumpy roads and really just try and figure out what driving style is best. It’s such a long rally though so there is much more of a marathon aspect to this rather than the sprint type events on gravel. I’ll need a different approach for sure and the aim will certainly to be first Ford home again if we can. The pressure is on but I’m really looking forward to competing over such classic stages in Ireland.”

The West Cork Rally offers 15 special stages centred around the Cork rally base during the weekend. Well-known Irish stages such as Ring, Dunworley, Sam’s Cross, Ardfield and a test in the town of Clonakilty make up the tests before a Sunday evening finish back in Cork.

Retson is supported by DJR Services, JSR Services – Blairgowrie Ltd, G S Robertson Ltd, Watermans Solicitors, Rally Travel, Kevin Donachie Electricians, West Ranga Properties, Robert Morton Joiners & Contractors, Vital Equipment Limited, Andrew Wood Motorsport, The Campervan Company, and Results Gym Forfar.

Image Credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography

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