A Newcastle Emlyn driver has had a good start to this year's rally season.

Rally driver James Williams and co-driver Ross Whittock recently battled the elements and some of the best drivers in the world in a round of the Probite British Rally Championship, the Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages, last weekend on April 13.

The event kicked off in challenging conditions.

Williams, who represents the Hyundai marque with his new four-wheel-drive turbo-charged i20 Rally2 car, started as car eight on a course that was both very loose and slippery.

The morning session consisted of four stages followed by a lunchtime service halt.

Three final tests rounded off the 62 miles of action.

Despite landing the tenth quickest time on the opener, Williams remained unperturbed.

His decision to opt for a certain tyre compound paid off on the second, third and fourth stages of the day, and he quickly ascended to the sixth position overall before the service halt.

Williams navigated his first gravel run with this car, forcing him to quickly adapt while reaching speeds more than 90mph.

The afternoon saw the pair persevere, as they worked their way up to an eventual fourth ranking, an especially notable accomplishment after the demanding event.

This result places the Hyundai duo fourth in the standings with several of their preferred events yet to come.

Williams shared his thoughts on the result, stating: "If you told me this was up for grabs before the start, I would have pushed it away.

"But... you forget how long it takes to get up to speed in these cars."

He emphasised the progress they had made throughout the event and thanked his supporters, colleagues and event officials, acknowledging, "everyone was perfect allowing me to learn and progress."

He further explained that despite some tricky conditions, there were important lessons learned, and he was able to pick up speed towards the end of the event, securing the critical fourth-place finish.

There was high praise extended to everyone who supported him, his crew and the Hyundai team.

He expressed gratitude to the Orange Army for providing stage-side support, and to the team of officials, marshals, and volunteers for their contribution in the tough conditions.

"Car #8 really appreciated every single one of you!" he added.

The next round of the championship sees the team switching back to smoother tarmac for the Jim Clark Rally in southern Scotland.

Williams, who has previously secured a podium position there, will be aiming to do so again in 2024.