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Greenlight Sports and Entertainment backed rally driver Sam Bilham admits he “still has a lot to learn” as he heads into his third outing behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5 this weekend, at the Rallynuts Stages Rally (13th April).

Bilham, 22 from Bingley West Yorkshire is enjoying his maiden season in a four-wheel-drive front running machine and has had a mixed campaign so far in the BTRDA Rally Series. His debut in the car in February showed promise, but an off-road excursion saw him retire from the Cambrian Rally in North Wales.

His fortunes turned at the Malcolm Wilson Stages last month, fighting back up the leader board to secure a career-best sixth place in Cumbria.

He will now head to Builth Wells in the heart of Wales for round three of the series and co-driven by Patrick Walsh, the young pilot will be aiming for a similar result to get his championship hopes back on track.

However, Bilham is well aware that getting the most out of the Fiesta R5 will take time and will call on the experience of his team around him to adapt to his new surroundings.

“It’s certainly been a huge leap for me this season, but I like to think that I`ve grabbed it with both hands,” says Bilham.

“It’s a real honour to be driving the Greenlight and Swift Group backed Fiesta and I realise it’s a huge privilege, so I’m very conscious of making sure that I can repay that trust in me this season. But I still have a lot to learn about the car and myself to a degree so I`m still taking it rally by rally.

It’s great to be able to call on the team around me for advice and they certainly help me push forward. Being able to work with British Champion Matt Edwards is so very valuable to get the best approach with the car and Guy Smith also offers his experiences of the R5 when he can. It’s also great to be able to work on the set up with Andy Townend and everyone is very eager to help me this season.

But, there is no point in going out and trying to win rallies on my third outing in the Fiesta so I`ll be treating this weekend like any other”.

The Rallynuts Stages Rally offers over 44 stage miles of classic forest test, many made famous by Wales Rally GB. In a new route for this year, the event also consists of stages which have not been used since the 1990’s meaning it could be a leveller for Bilham.

“Having stages that no-one really knows that well means it’s almost a reset switch. You will really get a good idea on the pace required then as experience doesn’t count for as much as it does when say, you contest a stage like Sweet Lamb where everyone has driven around so many times.”

Bilham believes that his confidence is building with every stage mile completed and coupled with some more familiar stages, he is looking forward to seeing how he progresses through the day.

“It was important to get a good finish on the Malcolm Wilson and we achieved that. It allowed me to get into the right frame of mind and start progressing inside the car. It was great to have Patrick with me and we settled in quickly so something else I don’t have to worry about this weekend.

I`m really looking forward to this one, probably more so than any so far this season, but my aims are realistic and I`m hoping to capitalise on last month’s result in Cumbria”.

Sam is supported by Greenlight Sports & Entertainment, Swift Group, Pirelli, Calvert Construction Ltd, Speedline Corse, Morris Lubricants and The Garage at Stanley Mills.

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