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Rising junior rally driver Eddie Lewis will contest his maiden FIA World Rally Championship event next week, as he is all set to tackle Britain’s round of the series, Wales Rally GB (3-6 October).

Lewis, 17, from Newark, will pilot his newly acquired 2019 specification M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2T on the three-day iconic event, competing against some of the best drivers in the world across over 300km of notorious Welsh forests. He will be co-driven by Dom Adams for the event.

Wales Rally GB is often regarded as one of the toughest events in the WRC tour and unlike many other sports, offers competitors the opportunity to compete against the World Rally Championship crews in the same event. Lewis will tackle his very first WRC event as he continues to forge a progressive career in the sport.

Backed by Mechanical Solutions, Lewis has embarked on an impressive rise towards the pinnacle of Junior rallying in the UK, electing to hone his skills in the F1000 Junior Rally Championship for three years behind the wheel of a Citroen C1 and latterly of Ford Fiesta.

Rarely off the podium in his final Junior year in 2018, Lewis switched to National competition at the start of this season in an Adam Cup Car, sampling gravel for the very first time. A trip to Estonia in a Ford Fiesta R2 whetted his appetite for the latest generation of R2 machinery and that led to the acquisition of a Mk8 1.0litre EcoBoost M-Sport Fiesta in the summer.

As one of only a handful of new Fiesta owners in the country, Lewis is eager to climb the rallying ladder of opportunity and cites Wales Rally GB as the perfect starting point to kick-start a career in the sport.

“Wales Rally GB sits alongside the British Grand Prix as the biggest motorsport event in the UK so it’s really exciting to be able to contest the event for the very first time,” says Lewis.

“Despite the fact I’m only in my first full season of adult rallying, the move to the new Fiesta has opened up possibilities to be able to compete at a world level and with the Junior WRC crews using the round as well, it’s great to be able to pitch my pace against the guys that are gunning for WRC glory. It’s a huge moment for me”.

After two days of reconnaissance which allows crews to make their own set of pace notes for the stages, the rally kicks off with the ceremonial start in Liverpool before heading to Oulton Park Race Circuit for a short blast around the spectator stage. Three gruelling days follow, with iconic forest stages offering some of the toughest tests of car and crew in the world.

Lewis is not underestimating the challenge ahead of him however.

“I’ve done nothing like this at all, nothing has come close to what is in store for us next week but I`m really excited to take it on,” he says.

“I think for me, whilst it would be nice to start looking at time of the JWRC guys, is really about experience and getting used to longer, tougher events. The car is so different to anything I have ever driven before. Despite our recent tests, I still need more time to get dialled into the car and find the best setup that suits me, and both Dom and I will need to adapt to how it all works. I haven’t even done a full domestic season yet so it’s a huge leap into the unknown”.

The youngster has been working hard to prepare for the week-long adventure but remains realistic about his goals for the rally.

“It’s such a long rally, it not like the sprint events I`m used to and is definitely a marathon. I`ll need a different mindset and the real goal I have set for myself is getting to the end. There has been a huge amount of work and support from so many people to be able to get us to the event. I can’t thank everyone and all my sponsors enough for their support”.

Eddie is backed by Mechanical Solutions, SSSI Ltd, Andrews Waste Management, Newark Steel, Walker & Son (Hauliers) Ltd, John Haugland Winter Rally School, Speedline Corse & Pirelli

Image credit: ewrcz.com

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