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Junior British Rally Championship (JBRC) contender Finlay Retson is facing “an uphill battle” to ensure his Ford Fiesta R2T is ready in time for the Ulster Rally (17th August), after spectacularly rolling out of the Ypres Rally in June whilst being on-course for a podium position.

The nineteen-year-old Blairgowrie ace had enjoyed a confidence-boosting run over the demanding Belgian roads but in the closing stages of the rally, the Watermans and JSR Services Blairgowrie backed Fiesta found one of the event’s notorious ditches, damaging the car beyond repair and putting his entry into the forthcoming penultimate round into doubt.

Retson, co-driven by fellow Scot Richard Crozier headed to Belgium in the lead of the impressive M-Sport/Pirelli standings which would offer a whopping 60,000 Euros towards a 2020 campaign in the Junior World Rally Championship.

He had enjoyed an almost faultless performance in the first half of the season, despite being in his first behind the wheel of the latest specification M-Sport Fiesta R2T. A maiden JBRC podium at the Pirelli International Rally meant he would head to Belgium with a 15 point gap over his rivals.

The youngster had worked his way up the Ypres Rally leader board from ninth to second during the weekend, but on the 15th of 23 stages, Retson ran wide on a gravel-strewn corner, which sent the Fiesta into a ditch at high speed, rolling multiple times.

“It was a very frustrating weekend as the feeling in the car was probably the best I had ever had,” says Retson.

“I had a great chance of getting some solid points and my best ever result and then it was all over in a split second after getting caught out. To be honest, I thought my season was over there and then”.

The damage was soon assessed and working alongside the specialist insurance company, M-Sport in Poland and his loyal backers, Retson was given the go-ahead to re-shell the Fiesta, effectively handing him a brand-new car for the trip across the Irish Sea.

But it won’t all be plain sailing. At the time of writing, there are just seven days before the car needs to leave Scotland to head to Newry in Northern Ireland and the new shell has only just landed at the team’s HQ in Perthshire.

“We basically have a few days to build a brand-new car and I have to say this is going to be one hell of an uphill battle,” says Retson.

“We had the old car stripped down ready for the new shell to arrive but as with all these things it took a little longer than expected so we are going to have pull a few `all-nighters` to get it ready in time to catch the boat. But we must try, not just for me and my championship hopes, but for all my supporters, backers and investors that have had the faith in me from the start. It’s a mammoth task, but we are certainly not going to give up easily”.

The Todays’ Ulster Rally offers around 100 miles of competitive action on the closed public roads around the Newry rally base in Northern Ireland and is the penultimate round of the British Rally Championship.

Retson is supported by JSR Services – Blairgowrie Ltd, DJR Services, Watermans Legal, G S Robertson Ltd, Kevin Donachie Electricians, West Ranga Properties, Gray & Adams Ltd, Robert Morton Joiners & Contractors, Andrew Wood Motorsport, Rallytravel.com, Castrol, Sharp Transport and Results Gym Forfar.

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