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Scottish rally driver Finlay Retson secured a confidence-boosting second place at last weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages (10th July), to close in on the lead of the Motorsport UK Junior British Rally Championship.

The 21-year-old ace from Blairgowrie and Welsh co-driver Rhys Stoneman steered his Ford Fiesta Rally4 across the world-class Welsh forest stages to grab a last-stage move up the leaderboard, meaning he now lies just three points shy of the lead of the prestigious British series after two rounds.

“I`m delighted to be back on the Junior BRC podium again,” said Retson at the finish.

“We had a tough opening round of the season at Oulton Park but knew that we were capable of doing better. Rhys and I had a game plan for this event and stuck to it, making sure we got faster as the day progressed and as the confidence grew. To take second place on that final stage was fantastic, it’s great to be back on the podium again”.

Retson has tackled the British Rally Championship since 2018, moving from the Cadet series into the Junior category the following year. His success both on and off the stages have shown a sign of his progression in the sport, becoming a Motorsport UK – Team UK squad member for the second successive year.

The youngster endured a mixed 2019 season in the Junior BRC, but two podium spots against some experienced Juniors saw him take second place in the Fiesta Trophy. Runner up at the opening round of 2020 was a welcome boost to his season chances before COVID-19 halted the campaign in its tracks.

But with the lure of the coveted title and an amazing Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing i20 N Rally2 prize drive on a round of the World Rally Championship in 2022 on offer for the winner, Retson was eager to return to the series to prove his worth against some of the fastest Juniors in the country.

The opening round of the series saw a bumper British Rally Championship entry head to Cheshire and the asphalt of the Oulton Park Race Circuit. Using its perimeter and access roads, Reston was only able to finish just outside the podium in fourth.

The gravel of last weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages offered the perfect comeback opportunity. Having hosted the World Rally Championship in the past, the stages around the Builth Wells base were widely renowned for their speed and unpredictability. With a bumper Junior entry all eager to take the spoils on gravel, Retson had it all to do during the eight special tests.

It wasn’t long before he was on the pace of the front-runners, storming into third place by the second stage of the rally. Despite a blip on the longest stage of the rally when he briefly slid off the road, Retson continued to punch in inspiring stage times and by the penultimate test had almost assured a podium spot.

But a blistering equal fastest time on the final stage of the rally saw him snatch second place and further cement his Junior BRC title aspirations.

“It’s been a tough rally and although it was a short rally, there was certainly no room for error,” said Retson.

“Dropping over twenty seconds on the fourth stage gave us some work to do this afternoon so I`m delighted with second and that offers us a great opportunity heading to the next round which is arguably my home event. I have experience of those stages so am feeling confident we can shine and continue to improve this season.”

The third round of the series heads to Banchory near Aberdeen for the Grampian Forest Rally in August.

Retson is supported by DJR Services Heavy Haulage, Vending by JSR, Kevin Donachie Electricians, Cross Civils and Construction Services Ltd, George MacKay Cars, AW Motorsport, Pirelli and Plas Y Rhosyn Wedding Venue.

Image credits – Jakob Ebrey Photography

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