Young rally gun Ryan Williams believes he is ready for a big year in the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) after a successful shakedown in his new wheels.
Having made his national debut last year during November’s standalone Netier National Capital Rally in a Mitsubishi Mirage, the Queenslander has since obtained a Polish-built Ford Fiesta R2t from Finland.
Interestingly, it’s the same car Williams drove during a small stint in Finland last year where he took part in a reconnaissance of the Rally of Lapland and received coaching from WRC driver Kristian Sohlberg.
With the new car feeling good and his preparation proving solid for the moment, the 22-year-old has gained confidence in his ability to steer it.
“We did a test last month where we got everything sorted and made sure everything with the car was there,” Williams said.
“The shakedown session went well. We made some changes but nothing drastic and personalised some things and now I am extremely happy with how it is set up. I have full faith in the car.
“M Sport knows how to make a reliable car so I am feeling confident in that respect. Add the fact that we have done the event before and know what to expect now, we have a strong baseline for a good result.”
Despite last year’s Canberra outing being the first major rally in Australia for Williams and his R’n’B co-driver, Brad Jones, the duo enjoyed a highly successful weekend out – finishing ninth overall and second in the Shamrock Haulage ARC 2WD Cup.
Now with his official ARC debut just weeks away, Williams’ dream is starting to turn into a reality as he looks to go one better in the Shamrock Haulage ARC 2WD Cup and win the ARC Junior Cup.
“We’re hugely excited for Canberra. Got the nerves out of the way at last year’s event because we didn’t know what to expect. It was a one-off event but it was still the same structure for how this year’s event is going to run,” Williams explained.
“It’s all a bit surreal to be honest. Just driving an R2 alone was a dream for me growing up, let alone competing in the full ARC season with a lot of big names.
“The ARC has been growing a lot in the past few years. There are more people and cars of a high standard entering now, which makes it exciting. Even a top 10 finish is a huge ask now for anyone now.
“For me, the goal for the season will be to win the ARC Junior Cup and the 2WD Cup.
“We are a small team, but the car is definitely up and If I drive it how it should be driven, then I don’t see why I can’t win both cups this year.”
Rally fans hoping to see Williams and Jones in the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship’s season opener can do so at specific spectator points with free tickets available.
The Netier National Capital Rally takes place in and around the forests of Kowen, Canberra on 26-28 March.
Photo: Elijah Hewett and Sportz Fotos