James Williams and Ross Whittock lead the Prestone MSA Motorsport News Junior British Rally Championship after two rounds, thanks to a fantastic victory on the Ypres Rally.

The Vauxhall Adam R2 crew played their BRC Joker well in Belgium, with a spirited fight-back after a big moment also rewarding them with the Junior Tony Pond Award.

Here the 20-year old driver from Newcastle Emlyn in west Wales, who wears a Stilo WRC DES Carbon Piuma and a bespoke Network Q designed P1 Advanced Racewear suit supplied by Nicky Grist Motorsports, tells us in his own words about his Ypres Rally in the fastest R2 front-wheel drive car on the event.

“It was the best weekend rallying we've had as a team to date, but definitely looking forward to the end of the season with the focus on the championship.

“I was confident heading to Ypres, knowing I would have a pre-event test to get settled into the car. I had only driven the Adam R2 on Tarmac the once, at Rally Isle of Man, so it was important to make sure I got the set-up as close as possible and that the feeling in the car was good. I knew some of my closest rivals for the championship had been over in Rally van Wervik the weekend before, so the competition was going to be very high leading into the start of the rally.

“The test went very well and the feeling was quietly confident within the team heading towards the two days of recce. Myself and Ross headed for the stages and set out making fresh pace notes for 2018 as my notes have evolved since the same rally in 2017. Whilst we were making pacenotes and enjoying the Belgium sun, my service team (which consisted of Dad, Kevin Jones and Stefan Morrow) started constructing the service area and making things look pretty. We arrived back after a good days recce, extremely proud of the team and really happy to see how our efforts in creating a professional service area had turned out.

“The rally started Friday afternoon, and the plan was to drive within our limits and make sure we brought the car back in one piece for Saturday’s rallying. We started with a fastest time and that set the tone for the rest of the day. I felt more comfortable in the HT Installations Adam R2 than ever before and this meant myself and Ross were able to push for the stage victories and put together a healthy buffer at the end of stage nine.

“I was over the moon to be doing so well and the aim was to continue the good work in Leg 2, knowing we hadn't reached the halfway point. It was amazing to have my family, friends and girlfriend arrive in Ypres to catch the start of the action, having their support meant the world and gave me the extra motivation to keep pushing.

“Saturday started well with a good time on the days opening stage, but in stage 11 the Adam caught a bump in a deep cut and was thrown sideways down the road, fortunately no damage, but a costly mistake which dropped us back to second in the standings. A quick regroup and a few choice words from Ross gave me the focus to continue and we won the remaining stages of that loop to close the gap and put the pressure on the driver ahead.

“We arrived back in service disappointed, but happy to still be in the fight, knowing we had the pace to push again for the lead position. After a quick check and regroup, we headed out for more action and the car felt great. We won a string of stages to catapult ourselves back into the lead, but unfortunately just after regaining the lead our nearest rival faltered giving us a healthy lead in the BRC class. From then on we could afford to relax just a little bit, but without taking our foot off the gas too much.

“To complete the rally with a few more stage wins was probably the toughest part, knowing that the result would be there as long as everything held together and that I didn't make any mistakes. At this point, I really owe a lot to Ross for keeping me calm and focused whilst taking on the reaming stages, but also my family and team for believing in me and keeping me 100% focused on getting to the finish.

“The final stage was so tough, but I loved every second of it- crossing the finish line in fifth gear on the rev-limiter was the icing on the cake and a real special moment for myself and Ross having only joined forces at the start of this year.

“I have to say a massive thanks to all my sponsors and partners, especially HT Installations for providing me with this opportunity.

“The aims for the rest of the year are to continue with consistency and make sure we do the best we can to continue leading the championship. I am now looking forward to the rest of the season and excited to be rallying in Ireland next!”