Bilham takes podium with new-car outing in Wales
By sambilham, Mar 25 2018 05:43PM
Sam Bilham enjoyed a positive debut behind the wheel of a new Vauxhall ADAM Cup car last weekend at Rally North Wales (24th March), taking the impressive machine to second in class M3 and 11th modern crew home at the Dolgellau based event.
The Bingley rally driver would head to Wales for the opening round of the new Rally2 series and this would also mark the inaugural outing for Bilham in a Mechanical Solutions backed ADAM.
The nimble Cup car had been offered to Bilham by the firm’s owner Nigel Lewis and son Eddie took to the co-drivers seat for the event.
Bilham had not had a competitive outing since taking the Fiesta ST Trophy title last year and was looking forward to getting his season underway with a new car, new co-driver and new event. Whilst he had traversed the Dyfi and Gartheniog stages on other rallies previously, the Rally North Wales format meant only small sections of the special tests would be a familiar sight.
He had only sampled the ADAM in a brief pre-event test so would need to take a cautious approach to the opening loop of stages. An early morning triple-header of tests in the slippery Welsh mud would be a tough challenge to start the day but the 21 year old took a mature approach to the day.
Building his confidence with each stage, Bilham entered the mid-point service halt in an impressive third in class M3 but admitted there was “more to come” from both the car and himself.
True to his word, the 2016 John Easson award winner settled perfectly into the DMACK Tyres shod ADAM on the final loop of three stages to cross the finish ramp in Dolgellau in an impressive second spot in his Vauxhall debut.
Bilham was delighted with his progress throughout the trouble-free day.
“I was hoping to do well this weekend, despite my lack of seat time in the car to but have taken second in class really has exceeded my expectations” said Bilham, “I’m pleased with my progress throughout the day and with the end result”.
“It took a while to bed myself in to the car and the stages this morning but that was to be expected. The stages were pretty tricky to be fair so we really wanted to make sure we made it round. I knew I had to give the car back when I`m finished so I was a little cautious at times!”
Bilham is eager to have further outings in ADAM in the future.
“The car is similar in characteristics to my championship-winning Fiesta but you can tell the ADAM shares some of its components with a full R2 spec version. It’s a very positive and solid car to drive and the fully sequential gearbox is a real joy to use. Once I’d built the confidence up it was pretty clear just how impressive these cars are.”
“We are still finalising plans for the rest of the season but it would certainly be great to be back out in the ADAM. It’s been a good start to the year and we are working hard to see if we can make it happen. I have to say a huge thanks to Eddie for a top job in the co-driver’s seat, to Mechanical Solutions for the car, DMACK for some confidence boosting tyres this weekend and of course to our supporters.”
Sam is supported by Mechanical Solutions, The 2300 Club John Easson Award, Calvert Construction, Reis Motorsport Insurance, DMACK Tyres, The Garage at Stanley Mills and Gareth Hooper Motorsport Services.