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London based rally driver Ruairi Bell helped to cement his plans for 2020 by winning €60,000 towards an FIA Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) campaign after storming to the Fiesta Trophy victory at last weekend’s Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally (14th September), final round of the British Rally Championship (BRC).

The 19-year-old ace took his Baltic Motorsport Fiesta R2T to fourth place in the Junior BRC during the day, doing enough to scoop the biggest prize in UK Rallying which has been provided by M-Sport and Pirelli. The fund will be used towards next year’s season in the hotly contested JWRC which offers the stepping stone into the World series.

Bell and outgoing British Rally Champion co-driver Darren Garrod had embarked on a busy season in 2019, dovetailing a Junior BRC campaign with outings in the Peugeot Iberica Cup which took them into Spain and Portugal in a Peugeot 208 R2. Coupled with selected outings in the World Rally Championship, Bell has been eager for experience as he continued to develop his skills behind the wheel of modern-day R2 machinery.

Electing to begin his career in Latvia and Estonia thanks to the lower age for competitive driving, Bell only contested his first full season in the UK during 2019 and enjoyed a strong start to the season. Fresh from a debut in the FIA World Rally Championship at Rally de Portugal in which he won his class, Bell claimed his first JBRC podium at the Ypres Rally which was followed by fourth place at the Ulster Rally.

The final round of the series headed to Dalbeattie in Scotland for nine-stages and 75 miles of classic forest rallying in the region. Like all other rounds of the series, the Protec and Marex Spectron backed ace would head to the event with no prior experience of the roads and would need to take a measured approach to the rally.

Sitting second in the Fiesta Trophy standings coming into the round, Bell knew that a win would be the only certainty to secure the title; a tall order against some of the fastest Junior drivers in the business. A difficult opening loop saw Bell down in sixth spot and third Fiesta but with the Scottish stages always eager to provide a sting in the tail, Bell adopted a mature attitude to his driving and elected to manage the risks rather than pitch for a win.

It wasn’t long before his mantra paid off, with the leading Fiesta and Bell’s title rival not emerging from the seventh test, all that was needed from the youngster was a finish, and he duly obliged to secure the huge prize fund towards the next step of his career.

Bell was delighted to scoop the prize.

“It’s a bit surreal at the moment,” said Bell at the finish ramp.

“It’s been a really tough day and a tough year and there has been some really brilliant competition out there and I`m so glad to be here right now. Obviously, we had a set goal at the beginning of the year, and we have managed to achieve it so of course, there are no complaints from us.

Not sure about Darren [Garrod] but I’m just relieved to be here and that we managed to get it round today. I must say thank you to Matt Edwards who has been coaching me recently and he has not only gone on to win the British title for a second time, but has always taken the time to offer me support, even mid-event. It’s certainly helped to have his backing and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future holds. What a season it’s been”.

Bell doesn’t have too much time to enjoy his reward, as he must now prepare to tackle Britain’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship next month, Wales Rally GB.

Image credit: Jakob Ebrey Photohraphy

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