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FIA Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) co-driver Phil Hall rounded out this year’s series at a gruelling Wales Rally GB (3-6 October) and now has his sights firmly set on 2020.

The 30-year-old guided fellow Brit Tom Williams to eighth in the JWRC category in North Wales, despite a drama filled event for the pairing. Running as high as fourth in the relentless conditions, their event was hampered by a time-zapping puncture and second day roll, which left them with significant work to do on the final day.

The five-stage Sunday leg demonstrated what the pair are capable of, achieving top three stage times in the final throws of the event as Hall now looks to map out next season’s plans.

Hall contested the five-round Junior WRC series with all crews driving identical M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2T’s in iconic locations such as Sweden, Corsica, Sardinia, Finland, and Great Britain. The competition has been intense and the Mansfield based ace has been in the thick of the action, putting his world-class co-driving skills to good use as the only all-British team in the series alongside Williams.

His experience is almost unrivalled in the JWRC and would be competing in his fourth season after making his WRC debut at Rally Australia in 2015. A season in the pre-cursor, the DRIVE DMACK Trophy was followed by two years in the JWRC and Hall’s experience from all corners of the globe was called upon to mount another attack on the series with Wales Rally GB offering a fitting finale.

After a glitzy ceremonial start in Liverpool, the Oulton Park Race Circuit stage offered a superb opening spectacle for the thousands of fans who packed into the venue, however the conditions were not representative of the Welsh forests which would dominate the following three days.

Predictably for Wales in October, torrential rain and thick mud would offer up one of the biggest challenges of the season with the already drenched stages becoming waterlogged thanks to the remnants of hurricane Lorenzo.

In typical fashion, Hall pushed Williams hard to be the home-heroes of the moment. Sadly a dramatic roll on day two forced the pair to temporarily retire, but thanks to the hard work of the M-Sport team, they were able to return the very next day under Rally2.

Hall’s experience came to the fore on the final day, helping to manage the pace of Williams, superbly guiding the young driver to deliver top three stage times that have been a feature of their season. An eighth-place finish allowed Hall to be reflective about his season.

“Wales Rally GB was an event of `what might have been` in many ways, but to be competing back home is still very special for me,” said the itsmymotorsport.com backed co-driver.

“It’s a great place to round out the year and it’s been one of the toughest seasons for a long time. But I thrive on the challenge that it throws at a co-driver and after four years in the Junior and young-gun level in the WRC, I’ve been able to build up so much experience and knowledge in that time.

I’ve really enjoyed adapting to the events and situations we have been in as that really does make you stronger. Experience like that is very valuable and will certainly help as I look towards my plans for next season”.

This year saw Hall enter a media venture with the Royal Air Force Reserves to promote the roles and opportunities they offer. As a spare-time reservist himself, this venture was a natural fit. With Hall proudly wearing the RAF livery, the attributes necessary to exceed in rallying are in symmetry with his reserve role.

Leadership, risk ownership, commitment and ability to perform at the highest levels, are all part of both facets and it is intended that the venture will continue to be expanded upon in 2020.

Hall’s successful year has seen him finish a respectful ninth in the Junior World Rally Championship co-driver standings.

“There is no doubt that the best is yet to come and I`m excited to see what 2020 and beyond holds for me” he said.

Hall is partnered by http://www.itsmymotorsport.co.uk and the Royal Air Force in 2019.

Image credit M-Sport/JWRC

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