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Blairgowrie rally driver Finlay Retson saw his chances of taking the coveted Junior British Rally Championship title slip away last weekend, after retiring from the penultimate round of the 2021 season, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally [30 October].

Just three weeks after standing on the Junior BRC podium for a second time this season after taking an impressive second place at the gruelling Mull Rally, Retson and co-driver Rhys Stoneman were aiming to repeat their success in the north Wales forests to maintain their chances of fighting for the coveted title.

But after storming to the fastest time on the opening stage of the event, Retson’s title aspirations were dashed as the transmission in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally4 failed on the road section to the second test, forcing Retson out of the rally on the spot.

The 21-year-old ace would head to the sixth round of the championship in third place and one of only four drivers in with a chance of taking the championship spoils. Two second places this season have been bookended with misfortune and a solid haul of points would be a requirement at the Llandudno based event. Retson would also play his Joker card, offering a potential five bonus points on his result during the weekend.

With stages made famous by the World Rally Championship qualifier Wales Rally GB, inclement weather on the run-up, turned the already difficult stages into a treacherous offering for all the BRC contenders. Unforgiving stages mixed with large areas of standing water were a feature of each of the six gravel tests, only the final asphalt closed road blast offering a respite from the rough conditions.

But Retson was a class-act over the opening Gwydir test. Topping the timesheets, Retson would open his account in fine style to put himself in the pound seat for the remainder of the day. But on more than one occasion this season, lady luck has not been on Retson’s side and on the road section to the second stage, the Fiesta lost second and third gears, forcing him into retirement.

“If we didn’t have bad luck, I don’t think we would have any luck at all,” said Retson.

“I don’t think there is anything more frustrating than retiring from the lead of a rally, especially the fact we had felt really confident coming into this weekend. We knew it would be a tough rally and that was confirmed with the fact there were only three Juniors making it to the end, but we knew we could make the most of the conditions. Sadly, it just wasn’t to be and I`m devastated to end our championship campaign at the side of the road with something out of our control”.

Retson was eager to take the positives away from his campaign and look towards the future.

“It’s hard to do right now but I’m really focused on the future and on reflection, we have to be really happy with the performances we returned this season. The pace has been there on all surfaces and there has been some tough Junior competition too, so the signs are encouraging. We have a few weeks to analyse our options for 2022 before preparing for the final round of the season in Northern Ireland.”

The Modern Tyres Ulster Rally takes crews to Newry for round seven of the Junior BRC in just three weeks time.

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.

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