Williams mixes it with the best in the North West

James Williams and co-driver Ross Whittock battled the elements on the North West Stages - the opening round of the Probite British Rally Championship and Prototyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship last weekend (Saturday 23rd March) to claim fourth overall in the BRC and first in the Asphalt series.

The Welshman was fresh off the back of a busy few weeks, which included driving 5000km into Europe to pick up his new Hyundai i20 Rally2 car last week. The North West Stages added another 45 miles onto the clock, with the fast and furious action played out on the closed public roads around Lancaster.

The Orange Amps driver battled with some of the best in the business – against former British, European and World Champions – flying the flag for Hyundai in Britain’s premier rallying series. The Newcastle Emlyn-based driver was on the pace from the off despite very limited mileage in his new machine.

Williams and Whittock threaded the four-wheel-drive, turbocharged car through the winding, bumpy roads around Garstang. A troublesome morning, soon progressed for the better in the afternoon despite being caught out on slicks whilst battling intermittent rain showers. James and Ross set top two stage times in the mixed conditions to climb the order to fourth overall, just missing out on a podium on his return to the series. The British pairing were duel registered for two Championships and were the class of the field in the National Asphalt Rally Championship – taking the win by 49.5 seconds at the end of the event.

“It was an up and down day, we learnt a lot in the morning and had to get on top of things very quickly. We had a really good run in the afternoon despite being on slicks with a few sudden downpours to content with. Our pace was right up there – it was good to feel confident and good to feel comfortable in the car – I absolutely loved it!

“We had podium pace today – but we just ran out of stage miles, but it was good to be in the thick of the action and mixing it at the front. We wanted a top five and we hit that – so a very solid start to the year.  To get the Asphalt win as well is always very special to me – so we lead that series which is nice. We will miss the next round – but we will be back for round three in that series to see if we can take another win.

“We head to the gravel next  for us– which will be exciting. I think some of the drivers this weekend have a lot more Tarmac knowledge – so I think it will be interesting to see how they get on, on the loose and I think the order might have a little shake-up… we will see. A big thank you once again to all the team, Ross for dong a great job on the notes, Orange Amps and all the supporters and the #OrangeArmy – I wouldn’t be here without them and I am pleased to get a good result under the belt for them as well.”

The next round of the championship sees James, Ross and the Orange Amps team switch to gravel for the Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages around Mid Wales in April. This will be James’ home gravel round of the championship, and he will be keen to press home the advantage over his rivals in the next bout of the championship. Highlights from the opening round of the Probite British Rally Championship will be broadcast on ITV4 at 17:45 on Tuesday 2nd April. 

James would like to thank his team of loyal partners: Orange Amps, Fast Forward Logistics, Hyundai Power Products, Rally Cover, Pirelli, Performance 1st Coaching, Composites Cymru, West Wales Lubricants, Palletline, Craftric Technology, Speedline Corse, Castle Designs, Charlies Stores, ND Civils, Progressive Safety Equipment, Hide Away Wales, West Coast Finance, Ceir Castle Motors and Vital Equipment. If you would like to become a partner, get in touch with the team today – jameswilliamsrallying@gmail.com