American champ Williams swaps seats for a good cause

Keaton Williams will put down his pacenote book in memory of the man he won his first ever rally alongside on Sunday

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Two-time American champion Keaton Williams will get behind the wheel for a very worthwhile event on Sunday.

Instead of guiding Brandon Semenuk between the trees in their factory Subaru WRX somewhere in America, Williams will drive the tracks along the English-Welsh border on the Mike Hart Memorial Targa.

“Mike was one of the really good guys,” said Williams. “He was everywhere. Motoring News rounds were his bread and butter, he always had time for everybody. I won my first rally with him in 2013 and he was just somebody you would always look up to.

“He passed away a couple of years ago and this event is running in his memory and in aid of the The Brain Tumour Charity charity as well as the DJP Foundation which supports mental health in farming. It’s a Knighton [Motor Club] event which has also got some support from Phil Price Rally School – Phil was another local legend we lost too soon.”

Keaton car

Winning is nothing new to Williams, but doing it from behind the wheel would be an achievement in his new car

Williams will drive his recently acquired Proton for the first time on Sunday, with the 95-mile competitive route utilising a mixture of farm tracks and lanes.

“The new one is a stage car which is eligible for road rallies,” he said. “It’s a step-up from the previous car and I am thinking about getting away and doing some stage events – maybe something in Ireland. Obviously, co-driving is my job, but I do enjoy doing some driving as well.

“The route for the event is great. It’s an area I’m familiar with, places where I learned my trade and where my dad used to compete. Can I win it? I don’t know, but I’m going to give it a go. When you’re used to competing for wins in the day job, it’s hard to step back when we’re having some fun. I know my way around, so we shouldn’t be too far away.”

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Sunday won’t be the first time Williams has sat in the driving seat of a rally car. And we’re not necessarily talking about this picture...