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Scottish rally driver Finlay Retson put a torrid run of fortune in the Junior British Rally Championship well and truly behind him as he stepped onto the third-place podium at the final round of the series in the South of Scotland, the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally (14th September).

The nineteen-year-old ace, guided his Ford Fiesta R2T to an equal best career result, adding to his third place at the Pirelli Rally in April and in the process, he narrowly missed out on securing a €60,000 prize fund towards a 2020 campaign in the Junior World Rally Championship with M-Sport and Pirelli. Retson’s impressive drive on the final round of the series saw him finish the season sixth and second Fiesta home.

Retson, with Richard Crozier alongside has had a season of up’s and downs with three solid finishes under their belt at the start of the season. The Blairgowrie based driver’s fortunes took a wild shift in Belgium, as a heavy crash saw the team needing to re-shell the Fiesta, finishing just days before the trip to the following round in Northern Ireland. Sadly, another off in Ulster would mean the M-Sport and Pirelli prize would only be an outside chance, but putting that firmly behind him, he embarked on his “home” event in a relaxed mood.

With the aim of getting a solid finish under his belt, Retson headed to Dalbeattie in Dumfries and Galloway for 75 miles of flat out action, spread across nine stages in the region. Despite having a small amount of experience of the stages in the Scottish Rally Championship earlier in his career, Retson’s approach was a “sensible” one and with nothing to gain, a result of any kind would be a success in the Retson camp.

Retson had to quickly adapt to the new-for-2019 M-Sport Fiesta, as he was one of the first in the UK to receive the new machine. With limited experience and no budget to complete a significant test programme, he has quickly learnt the driving style required to pilot the 1.0litre EcoBoost example.

His performance on the opening loop in Scotland was a measured one, balancing his raw speed with the desire to make it to the end. Sitting fifth Junior at the mid-point was perhaps not an indication of his ability, electing to save the car over the treacherous ditch-lined stages. Indeed these very stages would claim several front runners over the closing stages of the rally, but Retson kept his cool, blasting to third fastest JBRC time on the final test to cement his improved third place, netting an equal career best result.

“It’s fantastic to make it to the end of this rally and we certainly didn’t expect to make it onto the Junior BRC podium at the start of this one” said Retson.

“But like all season really, we just kept on pushing away and putting in really consistent times which is exactly what we needed to be doing so from that point of view it certainly has been mission accomplished. There have been some big smiles on both sides of the car all day as well and that’s been a big part of it this weekend too, it’s been a blast”.

Despite his result, Retson’s chances of netting the M-Sport and Pirelli prize fund were kept at arms length.

“It was pretty nip and tuck all day but we knew coming into this that to win the prize, we would need pretty much everyone else not to finish so that was always going to be a tall order. As we know in this sport anything can happen, but it wasn’t to be this year. It’s been a tough season, so this is the perfect way to end it, spraying the champagne on the podium. This one is for all my supporters and sponsors for their unrivalled dedication this year, I couldn’t have done it without them”.

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.

Image Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

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