25-year-old James Williams is firmly focused on the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship this season, with the Welshman eyeing up his first BRC win and a targeted title tilt in 2023.
Williams enjoyed a stellar first season in the top-flight of Britain’s premier rallying series last year – with third overall and top rookie in the closely fought contest. In 2023, the Newcastle Emlyn-based driver returns, and ready to be fighting at the front once again with a renewed hunger.
The season gets underway earlier than usual with the Malcolm Wilson Rally in Cumbria becoming a British Championship round for the first time this Saturday. James will be joined by regular co-driver Dai Roberts in the navigators seat – but the pair will be driving a new car for the campaign ahead.
The Welsh crew will be equipped with a NPL Rally Hire prepared four-wheel-drive, turbo-charged Ford Fiesta Rally2 following the use of a Hyundai i20 R5 last season. James last drove a Fiesta Rally2 at the end of the 2021. In a one off drive, he gelled with the car instantly – challenging the established BRC frontrunners at the time.
“Good things come to those who wait some might say, and I think being patient has paid off in the off season this year,” said an enthusiastic Williams.
“I have been working hard since the end of the last year, and I wanted to be sure we had the right package to do the business this year. Last season was a good year on the whole, but I have high standards and want to improve in many areas. If I want to be realistically fighting for wins and hopefully the title, the Ford Fiesta is one of the cars for the job. It’s a proven winner around the world and I want to thank NPL Rally Hire and M-Sport for putting this deal together.
“I am also really excited to bring Orange Amps into rallying for the first time – an exciting brand with lots of colour and flair, something we want to bring to the BRC this year. I am also pleased to welcome Marion Freight UK and the return of Hyundai Power Products, who were so good to me last year.
“Last year was a learning year – I am not here to learn anymore, as we are here to turn up the dial and give it our best performance, and that starts this weekend on the Malcolm Wilson [Rally]. The car will be right at home on the stages as the Fiesta Rally2 was built just a stone’s throw away in Cockermouth by Malcolm Wilson’s M-Sport firm – so we have the right tool to get things started.”
Talking about the championship as a whole, Williams was in a buoyant mood despite the strong opposition.
“Once again the BRC has some quality world class drivers in the field again. All eyes will be on World Championship driver [Adrien] Fourmaux who will be in a similar car and Keith Cronin who is out for his fifth BRC title – so it will be interesting to see how close we can get to them. As we found out last year, it’s a long, old year and you have to be there at the end for a chance of taking this championship – a position we hope to be in come the final round.”
James Williams, Dai Roberts and all of the JWR Team are looking forward to getting stuck into the first round of the year – the Malcolm Wilson Rally in Cumbria. 43-miles on loose and challenging gravel stages in the Greystoke Forest and a strong entry list are the hurdles Williams and Roberts have to overcome to claim a first victory and a strong start to the campaign.