Fourth place overall was a just reward for a finely judged drive from County Armagh’s James Wilson, with co-driver Arthur Kierans on the British Rally Championship (BRC) finale in Scotland. First time driving a Ford Fiesta R5, first time on the Galloway Hills Rally, the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Award winner was very happy with Saturday’s outcome.
“We had a task to do on this event, and a big part of that was to try and learn about it for the BRC next year. I also decided after some discussions with Philip Case before the event to give the Ford a try out. It’s always good to be able to adapt to a other cars and to try and be more versatile for the future. I really enjoyed the drive in the Fiesta, and I was amazed for a car in the same category just how different it was to the Hyundai. We only had a brief test before-hand and certainly if i was to have another go in it I could spend more time trying different things. They are both very good cars, and both very different in their characteristics” said James.
They are exciting times for the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy member following that superb third place on the Jim Walsh Cork Forestry rally in the Hyundai R5 and the Fiesta outing netted similar rewards. Thanks also to support from Sport Ireland and sponsors Rigual, Emco Wheaton, Road Tankers Armagh, Philip White Tyres and James Wilson Garage Services the PCRS team was able to field the Fiesta R5 for James and Arthur in Scotland.
“On the opening Dalbeattie tests I took it relatively easily. There was a lot of grass on the forest roads and they were very slippery in places so we didn’t want to get caught out. Once we got onto Glen Gap and Cairn Edward there was more consistent grip and we started to get more into a rhythm. Our Michelin tyres worked well again, and the four tyres lasted us all day which was also a great bonus. We were fourth fastest from stage two on, although I didn’t study the times during the event, and we came away very happy with what we learnt about the stages, the car and our pace wasn’t too bad considering how hard we were trying. It also helped to make up for our Ulster Rally disappointment, and now we have time to think ahead to what happens in 2020.”
Indeed the team have been already looking ahead to the new season, with a full BRC R5 attack likely and much thrashing out to be done over the off season. Progress also continues thanks to the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, and James is the first to admit that the opporortunities that became available to him this season have been wildly beyond expectations. ”I have another development day with the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy this Friday, and I think there will be more in the pipe-line for 2020. Thinking back to the Hyundai drives in Killarney and the Cork Forestry and even the Hyundai Motorsport factory visit, all in all it has been staggering, on top of the Billy Coleman Award. Without question without the support we would have struggled to achieve anywhere near the experience we have gained in 2019. It’s been monumental!”
Now it’s back to the spanners during the week for the day job in the family Road Tankers Armagh business, but between fulfilling the bulging order book for custom built trucks, the decisions will be made for next year and beyond.
Images from Hairpin Motorsport Media