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British rally co-driver Phil Hall has united with the Royal Air Force Reserves for the remainder of his 2019 Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) campaign with a unique venture which will launch at the forthcoming Rally Italia Sardega (13-16 June).

A collaboration will see RAF Reservists experience life in one of the most demanding motorsport championships on the planet, whilst Phil and his colleagues from the World Championship will be put through their paces by a series of challenges set by the RAF.

RAF Reservists from a range of trades will travel to Rally Sardinia, Rally Finland, and the JWRC finale at Wales Rally GB, visiting Hall and the M-Sport rally team who are responsible for running the Ford Fiesta MK8 R2T’s in the series. They will delve inside life in the WRC, meeting team members, observing the dedication required and gain a full understanding of the roles that are needed to compete at the pinnacle of the sport.

In between each event, Hall and the team will have a number of exciting opportunities to mirror the Reservists experience and sample life in the RAF, obtaining a taste of the different trades that are available to the Reserves.

Hall, 30 from Mansfield near Nottingham is often regarded as one of the leading new-generation British co-drivers, and in 2019 has embarked upon his fourth full season in the World Rally Championship after making his WRC event debut at Rally Australia in 2015. Returning to contest the JWRC for a second year in succession, Hall and driver Tom Williams have enjoyed an impressive start to the season, currently lying sixth overall in the championship.

Previously a full-time serviceman, Hall left the RAF in 2015 to pursue a full-time professional rallying career but returned as a Reservist in 2017 and was once again able to wear the iconic RAF livery that launched his career.

He is delighted to be embarking on a new initiative with the Royal Air Force within the sport of rallying and believes there are many symmetries between the two.

“This new project between myself and the RAF is a very exciting time and will give my Reservist colleagues a great insight into just what is required to be a successful rally team at this level. I think there will be some aspects that they won’t expect; but teamwork, dedication and a never give up attitude will be very familiar to them.

I really can’t wait to get stuck into the other side of the venture and the challenges they are going to set for me. Although I’m not quite sure what they have lined up yet, it’s sure to be an interesting encounter.”

Hall is indebted to the service for their support.

“Without the Royal Air Force, I would not be in the incredible position I am today competing at the top level of rallying. They gave me the opportunity and support to really progress. As an organisation, the RAF promotes sport at all levels and it’s great to be a part of that.”

Royal Air Force Reserves serve alongside Regulars in the UK and overseas. They are able to balance their own careers and home life, alongside the challenge and adventure of being part of the RAF.

Squadron Leader Simon Briggs, who has been coordinating the project is eager to launch his team into the venture.

“The Royal Air Force Reserves are pleased to announce this exciting venture with Phil Hall throughout 2019,” he says.

“Many people probably don’t know that in Phil’s spare time, he’s an RAF Reservist and in fact, the RAF Reserves and a rally team share a similar outlook; both train hard, deploying to locations worldwide, working as a team to succeed in arduous conditions.

Over the coming months, Phil will be undertaking several challenges with some of our squadrons, joining them to provide an insight into the roles, opportunities and lifestyle. Conversely, we’ll be sending some of our Reservists to join him and his rally team; to find out how they deal with the pressure of operating at the highest levels.

Can they cut it in the rallying world? Will Phil and the team cut it in RAF Reserves? We look forward to finding out over the coming year.”

Rally Italia Sardegna will see Hall tackle over 300km of arduous special stages across the rough and dusty Sardinian mountains. Eleven crews in the Junior WRC will battle for top honours, all behind the wheel of identical M-Sport Ford Fiesta MK8 R2T’s.

Hall is partnered by and the Royal Air Force in 2019.

Image credit M-Sport/JWRC

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