The third round of the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship on Saturday, July 9, was to be an unlucky affair for Newcastle Emlyn’s James Williams and the Hyundai Power Products Rally team.

The dusty, gravel roads of the Nicky Grist Stages, which held a great deal of hope – where to cruelly bring the first retirement of the year for the British team.

Following two breakthrough podiums on the asphalt in the opening two rounds of the British Rally Championship, James Williams and co-driver Dai Roberts set about continuing their podium run as the championship moved to the gravel stages around Builth Wells.

Starting at car three, things didn’t start off on the right foot as the car was running off peak and down on power on the opening stage. A cleaner run on the second test saw James move into the podium fight before intercom failure slowed their progress.

Roberts had to use a series of hand gestures to assist in the direction and severity of the corners ahead. Despite losing vital seconds, the Welsh crew held fourth in the British Championship at the mid-event service.

Tivyside Advertiser: Williams previously had success at the British Rallycross. Picture: Jakob Ebrey PhotographyWilliams previously had success at the British Rallycross. Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography

With the event so short – just 45 miles in length – making up the time on the top two, was going to be a big ask, so a podium finish would have been a solid outcome.

The opening stage of the final loop was to see the return of the power problems – this time with a faulty turbo pop-off valve restricting the four-wheel-drive Hyundai i20’s performance – with horsepower dropping by over a third compared to its usual output.


With no further service time and no spare in the car, Williams had to fully commit and carry as much speed through every single corner – putting pressure on himself and the car. Sadly at the end of SS7 with just one stage to go, the suspension of the Hyundai cried enough with the strut coming through the bonnet of the i20. A retirement with one stage to go on home soil was a bitter pill for Williams and Roberts to swallow.

Tivyside Advertiser: The rally took place on July 9. Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography The rally took place on July 9. Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography

“Today just wasn’t our day,” said a disappointed Williams. “The event went from bad to worse and we are gutted it ended in this way. We can take positives from this, we were able to overcome things that came in our way and importantly we never gave up until it wasn’t possible to go no more.

“I would like to thank the whole team, family and sponsors who came to support one of our local events – I am gutted I couldn’t bring home another podium for them. But we shake ourselves off and go again.

“We are still in a strong position and there are still another four rounds of the championship remaining. We will be seeking the champagne again next time.”

Williams and all of the Hyundai Power Products Rally Team will dust themselves off as they travel to Scotland for the Grampian Forest Rally – round four of the British Championship on August 13.