Claire in pole position for BRC Challenge

Claire in pole position for BRC Challenge

RACING QUEEN: Claire Williams enjoyed a fantastic 2013. Pic: JMS Photographic

PERFECT PAIR: Claire Williams, from Betws, has teamed up with 2009 British Rally Championship Challenge winner Neil Matthews. Pic: JMS Photographic

First published in Sport

Fresh from her 2013 successes, Betws rally queen Claire Williams has teamed up with 2009 British Rally Championship Challenge winner Neil Matthews to compete in this year’s BRCC.

Co-driver Williams, aged 24, was named FMP Rally Challenge champion in 2013 and turned heads with her exploits on Wales Rally GB in November.

She also competed alongside Matthews, from Halesowen, in selected rounds of the BTRDA Championship throughout 2013 and the pair have been working hard to gain approval to run their 1600cc Vauxhall Nova in the 2014 British Rally Championship.

Following an extension to allow pre-2001 cars to run in the BRC Challenge Trophy - formerly BRC Challenge - section of the BRC, the pair received official notification of acceptance.

Williams, who only took up competitive racing in 2010 and honed her skills in road-road before suffering a broken back in August 2012 before returning to action last February, is delighted to team up with the former champion.

“It was great when Neil agreed to take me on-board in 2013,” she said.

“It was one of those sink or swim moments and it’s safe to say I swam and we gelled instantly.

“We both have a fun loving outlook but we’re also extremely focused and thrive on competition.

“Neil’s experience and proven pace was a huge factor in me accepting the seat alongside him in his Challenge Trophy campaign”.

Matthews added: “It’s fantastic that we have gained permission to run.

“ The BRC is the only National Championship which gives us the opportunity to compete against some very quick crews on both gravel and asphalt and includes some of the most iconic rallies in the UK, Ireland and also the Isle of Man.”

The pair first competed together in May 2013 on the Plains Rally in Mid Wales and swept the board by claiming an impressive class win by over 1min 20secs. They also won claimed the Front Wheel Drive crew trophy in the process.

The pair have already commenced pre-season testing and plan for a warm-up rally in March before kicking off their championship campaign in Welshpool for Rally North Wales on April 5 and 6.

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