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Blairgowrie rally driver Finlay Retson is still firmly in the race for the 2021 Junior British Rally Championship despite a difficult weekend at round four of the series, Trackrod Rally Yorkshire [24-25 September].

The 21-year-old was hampered by an early spin on the opening stage of the event, and would never recover the subsequent time loss, eventually taking his Ford Fiesta Rally4 to fourth place to secure valuable points for his Junior BRC title charge. The result means he heads into the final three rounds of the season equal second in the standings and well poised to take the championship fight to the wire.

Retson and co-driver Rhys Stoneman have endured a season of high’s and lows in the hotly contested championship. With a prize drive in the World Rally Championship up for grabs in 2022, the fast-paced series sees a hotly contested fight for the lead of each one of the series’ seven point-scoring rounds.

The opening round of the season saw Retson finish just outside of the podium positions in fourth at Oulton Park before a sensational performance in Wales saw him take second place at the Nicky Grist Stages. Aiming to capitalise on that form in Scotland, Retson was set for another positive result at the Grampian Rally in August but was hampered by technical issues, confounded by a fractured ankle during the event and he could only salvage sixth.

The Trackrod Rally Yorkshire offered an opportunity to make a return bid for the podium spots and Friday night saw 11 miles of Dalby Forest under the cover of darkness to kick-start the event. Retson professed to have felt comfortable over the opening handful of miles but the changeable surface would catch out the youngster, suffering a time-zapping overshoot and losing just under a minute to the leaders.

Such is the pace of the series contenders, it would be almost impossible to regain that deficit over the remaining 44 miles and Retson would have to look to change tact and consolidate his position over Saturday’s stages. A mature drive saw him recover from sixth overnight to fourth spot and the accumulated points puts him third in the championship standings.

“It was a really small mistake that just cost us the result, to be honest,” said Retson.

“The braking area into a corner on Friday night was like ice and it just sent us off down an escape road. With the dust and everything, by the time we got back onto the stage and up to speed it was pretty clear we had lost a huge chunk of time and from then on in there wouldn’t be much we could have done.”

Retson is eager to look ahead to the remaining rounds which start with the daunting Beatson’s Mull Rally in just two weeks time.

“The calendar is really tightly packed for the rest of the year so you can’t dwell on results like that too much. We have to move on and continue to look ahead to see what we can do better and Mull is a great opportunity to do just that. It’s a rally like no other and we don’t have long to prepare but we certainly feel we are in a good position championship wise and that’s very encouraging at this stage of the season”.

The Mull Rally takes crews to the small island off the west coast of Scotland in October and features three days of closed-road action with much of the competitive mileage under the cover of darkness.

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 credit – Jakob Ebrey Photography

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