Rising British rally star Tom Williams will represent the UK as the sole British driver in the 2019 FIA Junior World Rally Championship, when he drives the all-new M-Sport developed EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R2 in the five round series.
The opening round of this year’s JWRC, Rally Sweden (14-17 February), will be Tom’s 13th World Rally Championship start – a remarkable milestone, given that he only made his rallying debut four years ago, winning ‘Rookie of the Year’ in the 2015 Formula 1000 Championship.
Having made his WRC debut on the 2016 Wales Rally GB, aged just 17, Tom made his overseas WRC debut on the 2017 Rally Finland aged 18 and, at 19-years old, was the youngest – and only British – driver in last year’s JWRC. Gaining in experience all the time, he went from finishing 11th out of 15 JWRC drivers early in the season on the Tour of Corsica to ending the year finishing 6th in both Finland and Turkey.
Co-driven by Phil Hall, the now 20-year old Tom will still be one of the youngest and least experienced drivers in the JWRC. Whilst 2019 will be another learning year, the aim is also to increase in intensity of everything he does, with sights set on perfect pace note preparation and consistently fast stage times.
Tom Williams said: “Last year was my first season in the Junior World Rally Championship, and we just focused on learning as much as we possibly could about the events and working hard on my fitness and pace note system. We felt very comfortable towards the end of the year, as we began to feel at home in the WRC.
“The aim this year is to continue to learn and increase the intensity of everything we do at each event. Rally Italy and Rally GB are new to the JWRC calendar this year, so for me it will be nice to go and experience the Sardinia event for the first time and then finish the series off on my home round of the World Rally Championship, which I’ve done three times before.
“There is a new car this year and the latest Fiesta R2 is a big step up from last year’s Ford. It’s much quicker and more stable, and a lot closer in terms of overall performance to the R5 cars. The speed in this year’s JWRC will be a lot quicker, so the competition will be even more fierce. The very best young up-and-coming drivers from around the world will be contesting the series, so it’s the perfect arena in which to compare myself against future world rally champions! If we can compete with them at the front end of the JWRC field, it will prove that we are making good progress and earning our place in the World Rally Championship.”
2019 FIA Junior World Rally Championship calendar