A HEREFORDSHIRE rally star will reach the climax of the sport this weekend when competing in the World Rally Championship.
Keaton Williams will replace injured Dan Barritt with Takamoto Katsuta in the Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris WRC at the Renties Ypres Rally this weekend.
The young Japanese was the find of the season, but this will be his first trip down the notoriously treacherous roads of the Flanders region.
Williams has raced Irish youngster Josh McErlean at both European and World Championship events for the past two years, writes Paul Willetts.
His achievements have not gone unnoticed by Toyotaband. He will be the sixth co-driver to make his WRC debut this year.
Williams says this is the opportunity he has been preparing for all his life.
“To be at the highest level in every sport was always the beginning,” said Williams.
If you are not ambitious then you are almost beating up a dead horse and you always have to look ahead and try hard to be successful. “Williams says
“When I was younger, all of my friends played rugby cricket or football, but for me it was always cars and motorsport and since I come from a rally-crazy area, I made my dream come true, especially with my local event, the Woodpecker Stages on my doorstep.
“As a kid, I used to play with cars in the garden even when it was pouring rain, I also had a little go-kart to drive around. It’s nice to look back, but I realize that there is a lot of hard work to come to get forward walk.”
The two are no strangers to each other in the car as Williams replaced Barritt in pre-event testing in Portugal, Estonia, Sardinia earlier this year and now in Ypres.
Learning is Williams’ ultimate goal, and he’s all about the bigger picture preparing for life with a full-time passenger.
How does he assess this new era of WRC cars and is he preparing for Ypres?
“These WRC cars are phenomenal, you can sit in them regularly, but they still blow your mind,” he added.
“I’m always 100%, I do everything over and over, especially now this week for Ypres.
“I just want to make sure that everything is right for Taka and the team.
“I understand that I am young and lack the experience of my contemporaries, but the only way to do that is by hosting events.”
The event will take place between Friday (August 13th) and Sunday (August 15th).