Dave Weston Junior contended that he could have pushed harder on Rally of Scotland at the weekend, despite the outstanding stage times he put in on the inaugural British Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) event as he kept pace with recently-crowned champion Kris Meeke and former British title-winners Guy Wilks and Alister McRae before being forced into retirement.
On home turf as he made his IRC debut, the Scottish teenager set a top four stage time and ran fourth overall early on, but sadly an 'off' on stage seven curtailed his impressive run. Nonetheless, as he concluded, he had already more than made his mark.
“My experience of Scotland was not vast before the rally,” confessed the 19-year-old, “so my aim was to recce the stages well, commit to my notes and see how we got on. It was fantastic to find myself so high up the rankings and behind three such fantastic drivers, all of whom I admire.
“It's given me a real confidence boost in how much I have learned this year in terms of making my own notes and committing to them. I honestly did not feel I was pushing myself beyond my capabilities, and feel I could have pushed harder on the later stages.
“We picked up a puncture early into stage [seven] and had almost got to the end without losing much time, but we slipped wide and hit a rock which launched us into the air and off the road. We got stuck, and when the car was removed the damage to the floor and seat rail was too severe to do Superally on the Saturday.
“Still, I am extremely pleased with the times we had on the event, and am thankful to everyone who has been in touch to congratulate us on how well we did. Not everyone noticed me as 'one to watch' before the event, but I think they have noticed me now.”
Rally of Scotland was Junior's final outing of 2009. He has not yet confirmed his plans for next year, but having caught the eye of onlookers both in the BRC and IRC and sampled some WRC this season into the bargain, he is now considering his options.