CO-DRIVER Keaton Williams is preparing for his first full British Rally Championship campaign directing a Hyundai i20 R5.
The former Herefordshire College of Technology student will team up once again with young Irish driver Josh McErlean in their Hyundai Motorsport Germany GmbH backed car ran by Philip Case’s PCRS team.
McErlean was last year’s British Junior Rally Champion and picked up the prestigious Billy Coleman award at the end of last year.
The 100,000 euros prize fund has helped pay for the switch to a R5 machine.
However, the pair have very limited R5 experience, having only done a few stages on Wales Rally GB last year in a Hyundai R5 before retirement.
“We are really looking forward to this year, we know what to expect from the British Championship, and I’ve made the switch from a R2 car to R5 quite easily, both cars require the same driving style, which has been helpful in building my confidence,” said McErlean.
“But we are under no illusions it’s going to be hard against some very quick and experienced drivers of R5 cars, the likes of Matt Edwards and Tom Cave, so it may be a case of playing the long game with us looking at 2021.
“This year is all about getting the experience of both gravel and tarmac events and learning.”
The pair’s project wouldn’t have been possible without the massive support from Motorsport Ireland and on top of the BRC campaign the duo are also going to be doing some of the World Rally Championship and European Rally Championship recces again for experience.
The duo had previously considered doing the six-round Junior World Championship in a Fiesta R2 before securing the deal with Hyundai.
“Yes it was a possibility, as you get a lot of exposure in JWRC,” said Williams.
“But when you put that against the value for money perspective it didn’t work for us and our budget.
“Hopefully this year is going to be an exciting one for us and being able to work with Hyundai, Motorsport Ireland and PCRS can only stand us in good stead for the future.”
The season opens with the Llandudno based Cambrian Rally on February 8, the event will see crews tackle stages used on Wales Rally GB, the likes of Gwydir, Elsi, Crafnant and the notoriously difficult Penmachno forest, as well as a blast around the famous tarmac of the Great Orme.