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Scottish rally driver Finlay Retson had an event of mixed fortunes as he tackled the third round of the Motorsport UK Junior British Rally Championship near Aberdeen last weekend (14 August), the Grampian Forest Rally.

An impressive pace which saw two fastest stage times from the six-stage event, was diluted by an ECU issue on his M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally4, cruelly denying Retson of another top Junior BRC result this season. His weekend was also blighted by a puncture and a foot injury at the start of the second stage of the rally, which was later discovered to be a fractured ankle.

“It certainly hasn’t been the best of weekends for us that’s for sure,” said Retson.

“It started well enough though and being four seconds off the lead was certainly an encouraging pace, but stage two wasn’t kind for many reasons. Firstly, I went over on my ankle at the start of the stage and although it was pretty painful, I think the adrenaline kept me going. But later in the stage, the car just cut out and we lost over two minutes trying to sort it out. By that time, we were out of the race for the lead, so the rest of the day was spent trying to play catch up.”

Retson has enjoyed a positive start to his Junior British Rally Championship campaign this season. The opening round of the series saw Retson finish just outside the podium places in fourth, recovering on the Welsh gravel a month later to take an impressive second place and put him in the mix of the championship lead.

He would head to Banchory to secure more valuable points for his title charge but would adapt perfectly to the unique stages in the region by going second fastest over the opening six-mile Durris test.

Sadly, his hard work would come undone on the second stage with an ECU overheating issue. Luckily a service halt followed straight after and the team were able to rectify the problem, allowing Retson to attempt to pick up where he left off on the opening stage of the rally.

And Retson delivered – storming to a stage win on the very next stage and began his climb up the leader board from 12th. That progress was temporarily halted on stage four with a puncture forcing him to drop a further 30 seconds to the leaders. But by the penultimate test, he had stormed to eighth spot. That became sixth by the time he reached the finish in Banchory.

“I’m happy with my performance today and to win two stages is really encouraging for the rest of the season,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for the issues I`m sure we would have been challenging for a win, but we have to look at the season as a whole and realise this is another points score for us and that still means I`m second in the championship with four rounds to go. I don’t think we had luck on our side during the weekend and my ankle and puncture was the icing on the cake. Luckily the pain wasn’t too bad until I got to the finish so hopefully, it will heal in time for the next rally. It’s a long season so let’s see what happens”.

The Junior British Rally Championship now heads into some of England’s finest forest stages for the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire at the end of September.

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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