RALLY co-driver Keaton Williams continued his whistle stop tour of rallies with another successful outing in the Vodafone Rallye Portugal.
Together with Josh McErlean the duo are continuing their programme of events with the Hyundai Customer Racing Junior Team, Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy.
Round four of this year’s World Rally Championship saw crews take to the hard demanding roads around Porto, with a very strong line up in the WRC 3 category especially.
The event offered some 338 kilometres over 20 tests in three days, writes Paul Willetts.
Friday’s opening leg was a real sting with eight special stages over 122kms, with no actual service, only a remote refuel and tyre stop.
It was a case of being smart with tyre degradation on the hard roads, but sadly after a solid start, punctures in both stages four and five dropped valuable time.
However, some good times in the remaining three tests saw the duo arrive back in Porto 24th overall and 10th in WRC 3.
“It’s been a case of what might have been without the punctures we settled into a nice rhythm, but we’re very aware we had to try and look after the tyres, but we’re here so let’s see what tomorrow brings.” said Williams.
Saturdays leg was the longest of the weekend with another eight stages, and 165 kms.
The duo pushed harder on the opening loop, but again limited tyre compounds were in the back of their minds, and the duo arrived at the midday service 21st & seventh in WRC3.
“We’re going in the right direction we’re setting some good times.” added McErlean
The afternoon loop saw the pair set some top-three times in the WRC 3 category and arrive back at the overnight halt 17th & fifth in WRC 3.
“We’ve had a good day, set some good times, found a good pace and car is running faultlessly as always.
“Tomorrow is only 50k but with very tricky stages, especially the two runs over the famous Fafe stage, but we’ll, continue as we’ve done today and see where it takes us,” added Williams.
Sunday’s five stages offered just 49.47kms, but still plenty to catch out the unwary, including the notorious jump on the Fafe stage, but the duo brought the car home in 17th overall and fifth in WRC 3.
“What an experience, a strong result and we set some good times which is encouraging for future events this year,” added McErlean
“A massive thank you to Hyundai Customer Racing Junior Team, Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy and PCRS for a superb car under us, its great progress for us and the team”
At the moment the next event for the duo is unknown with further discussions ongoing.