phil hall - professional rally co-driver
Phil Hall is a professional rally co-driver and navigator.
He has worked all over the world guiding professional drivers from Rally America to the Asia Pacific Championship. He is a member of the Codemasters DiRT Rally Team with Jon Armstrong.
| 2021 August 25
RAF Motorsport uses in-house World Rally Championship experience to nurture future talent
Second only to Formula One, the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) is the most accessible, action packed, and closely contested form of motorsport on the globe. Such is its gruelling and unforgiving nature; few are able to reach the level of performance and lifetime dedication required to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
In 2019, the iconic Royal Air Force roundel appeared on a rally car in the WRC for the very first time with RAF Reservist Phil Hall. Serving with the RAF as both a Regular and Reserve, the Royal Air Force has supported Hall’s pursuit of becoming a World Rally Championship co-driver from the start.
Now one of the most experienced co-drivers in the country, it wasn’t long before his knowledge would be tapped into by RAF Motorsport.
“It’s always exciting for me to get involved with an RAF Motorsport project as it really is an integral part of where I started in the sport. So, when I was asked to help Cpl Pam Parsons as part of the talent development pathway, I was only too happy to assist”.
Parsons has ambitions to climb the ranks of the rallying spectrum and as part of a new RAF Motorsport initiative, Hall has been recruited in a mentoring role, helping to guide her through the all-important early stages of the co-driver journey.
"I have been so fortunate since joining the RAF Motorsports Association to not only experience some of the many elements of motorsport, but to meet and work with some incredibly talented people. I have always had a passion for motorsport so when I was afforded the opportunity by Gp Capt Watson to work with Cpl Phil Hall, I was delighted" explains Parsons.
“I’ve always wanted to give something back and being able to impart my knowledge to someone who is eager to follow a similar path to mine is fantastic” says Hall.
“I’m using my experience and access opportunities to help develop future talent in RAF Rallying, with Cpl Parsons being the first beneficiary.”
In 2021, Hall has embarked on an exciting new initiative with fellow Brit Jon Armstrong in the Junior WRC series and the duo currently are well in the mix to fight for the title as the series heads towards the final two rounds.
Parsons will be able to reap the benefits of Hall’s extensive knowledge and has already benefited from a series of one-to-one remote training sessions on background, preparation, and equipment.
It hasn’t all been confined to the classroom however, as she was also able to accompany Hall in a pre-Rally Portugal test where she experienced a top-flight ride in a rally car alongside Jon Armstrong. This early outing was key to get a feel for rallying at top speed and offered the opportunity to build on technical experience and understanding inside and outside the car.
Her hands-on experience extended to Goodwood Festival of Speed where Hall arranged a mentor session with European Rally Championship competitor Nabila Tejpar and yet another opportunity in the co-drivers seat, this time on the famous Goodwood Rally Stage.
"Phil is a great mentor, patient, inspiring and he always ensures he makes the time to call me prior to any of my events to talk me through any concerns I may have, despite how busy his own rally schedule keeps him" Parsons continues.
"Earlier this year I was privileged to meet both Jon Armstrong and Nabila Tejpar to discuss with them what it’s like to be a driver and how important that relationship needs to be between a driver and co-driver. I learnt so much from them both at these mentoring events and for this I am very thankful."
“Experiences like this are really valuable for Pam and I know how important they are going forward” explains Hall.
“It’s not just about theory based tutoring. Getting seat time for a co-driver is no different to a driver, it really advances you in a short space of time so to be able to offer Pam several opportunities like this will be key to her progression."
At the end of August, Parsons will take part in her first rally, co-driving for former RAF Rally Champion Sqn Ldr Phil Bruce with the support of Hall. The development programme will continue over the coming months, with aim to include her in more WRC level activities in order to build her experience.
When asked about the event, Parsons was enthusiastic; "I think it would be fair to say I am a little nervous as I am aware I am working with some elite individuals, but the support and belief that Sqn Ldr Bruce, Cpl Phil Hall and the RAFMSA have shown me so far has been so encouraging. I am very much looking forward to the event and hope that this will be a promising start to a great career in RAF Motorsport".
“Giving something back to the organisation that laid the foundation for my career is extremely important to me” says Hall.
“Co-driving is certainly not for everyone, so to see someone from the RAF Motorsports programme wanting to follow a similar path to me really resonates. I want to help them succeed and I'm excited to assist in Pam’s development as she gains more experience in the coming months”.
Image credit: M-Sport/JWRC
| 2021 August 15
Ypres Rally win for Hall ensures Junior World Rally Championship title showdown in Spain
FIA Junior World Rally Championship co-driver Phil Hall guided fellow Briton Jon Armstrong to a dominant Renties Ypres Rally Belgium victory last weekend (13 – 15 August), meaning he heads into the final round of the series within sight of clinching the iconic title.
The Motorsport UK Team UK rally co-driver steered Armstrong to seven stage wins in their M-Sport Fiesta Rally4, winning the demanding closed-road event by over a minute from their nearest rival. Hall’s result in Belgium puts him just three points shy of the lead of the Junior WRC heading into the final round in Spain in October.
“It’s been yet another fantastic victory for Jon and I,” said Hall.
“Despite being a new pairing just this season, we have been able to deliver consistent top results all year which has put us in the thick of the battle for a World Championship title and that feels pretty good to say out loud”.
The 33-year-old RAF Motorsport High Performing Athlete from Nottinghamshire is enjoying a buoyant return to the Junior WRC in 2021 having experienced the gruelling series in both 2018 and 2019. He also contested the series pre-cursor in 2016 which offers him up as arguably the most experienced co-driver on the tour.
The series is considered the most important talent pathway in the sport and with crews contesting the five-round series in identical machinery, it is left to raw speed, talent, and skill to reach the top step of the podium. Hall has stood there twice so far this season, securing a sensational round one win in Croatia on his debut event with Armstrong and now a significant win in Belgium.
Whilst Hall’s extensive experience had taken him across the globe, the Ypres Rally was an event he had never contested previously and would have to be sure his pre-event preparation was faultless ahead of the rally. That hard work would pay off instantly, going fastest on the pre-event shakedown was a sign of things to come with the first competitive tests also going the way of the pairing.
In fact, it would be all four of Friday morning’s stages that would see the Hall and Armstrong name on the top of the stage times and by the end of the opening day, the pairing had built up a mammoth 50-second lead.
Belgium’s roads are some of the most unforgiving in Europe. With inch-perfect placement on the narrow stages a necessity, perfect note delivery from the co-driver’s seat would be an essential factor in success. The slightest hesitation or incorrect pacenote could result in a trip into one of the event’s deep ditches and at the speed the stages are tackled, it would almost certainly spell the end of the rally should the driver and co-driver not be at one with each other.
However, there were no such issues in the car for Hall, who was able to help Armstrong manage the pace over the second day to head into Sunday’s short four-stage blast with a significant lead of over one minute, which they duly held onto to climb onto the podium in the legendary Spa Francorchamps race circuit as the only crews to win two rounds of the Junior WRC this season.
“It’s fantastic to scoop a second win of the season on such a tough event on both sides of the car” explains Hall.
“The format is very demanding physically and mentally due to the early starts and late finishes but as a co-driver you really cannot afford to waiver at all on these roads. The notes are very detailed here due to the surface changes and cuts we have to take so I must make sure the note delivery to Jon is perfectly placed but also as informative as possible. But I enjoyed every second of it and it was a great challenge to overcome. To stand on that top step again was a real honour and we are proving that we can deliver results across the board this season”.
RallyRACC Catalunya returns to the World Rally Championship calendar as a pure asphalt event in 2021 and provides a thrilling final event showdown for the Junior WRC in October.
| 2021 July 29
Hall remains in Junior WRC title fight after Rally Estonia podium
British rally co-driver Phil Hall remains on-track to fight for the coveted FIA Junior World Rally Championship title after a scintillating performance at Rally Estonia last weekend (15-18 July), taking second place at the gruelling event. The third round of the five-event series saw a blistering pace from the front-running crews as Hall guided fellow Brit Jon Armstrong to five stage victories before securing the impressive runner-up spot in what is considered a highly specialist, super-fast gravel event.
|The result ensures that Hall sits just 15 points away from the series lead with two rounds remaining and with more familiar events to come in the calendar, the fight is on for Hall’s maiden World title over the remainder of the season. The 32-year-old RAF Motorsport High Performing Athlete from Nottinghamshire is enjoying a highly successful 2021 season in the co-drivers seat, with a sensational round one Junior WRC win in Croatia getting his season off to the perfect start. Engine failure caused a second round zero score hampering progress, but recovery in Estonia has rekindled the title fight. It’s been a positive year outside of the Junior tour too, with Hall and Armstrong selected to debut the M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 in the FIA European Rally Championship and duly taking the class win at Rally Poland in June. But the Junior WRC is undoubtedly the focus for Hall this season and the Estonian roads are famed for their unforgiving jumps and super-fast sections which require the ultimate concentration and precision pace note calling from the co-driver’s seat. The Motorsport UK Team UK squad member has a wealth of experience in events across the world but had never competed in Estonia before. The recce and pre-event shakedown would be an all-important factor in learning the type of note delivery required. And it got off to a positive start with third fastest across the opening Super Special on Thursday night, before the rally proper got underway on Friday. Punching in confidence-boosting times throughout the day saw Hall end the opening day in second spot, with a stage win on the penultimate test an added bonus. With the series contenders feeling much more at home and experienced on the Estonian soil, making inroads on the lead would always be an uphill task but Hall would be eager to balance Armstrong’s pace between risk and reward to end day two in third place. The opening stage on the final day saw Hall climb back into second, to cross the finish ramp in Tartu with another impressive result. “This is such a fantastic rally but it's suited to some of the guys with experience of these style of roads so to come away with second and be fighting for stage wins is exciting,” said Hall. “It hasn’t been easy at all; it’s a gruelling event and it’s been a hard balance between the rough roads and the flat out sections but I feel I`ve really settled into the task in hand and the harmony in the car has been great between Jon and I. This result has set us up perfectly to fight for the title over the closing rounds and it's going to be a great battle for sure”. Hall would also enjoy support from the British Embassy in Tallinn during his trip thanks to a unique collaboration that saw Hall and the Embassy host a live virtual DiRT2.0 Rally tournament final in the town centre to crown an Estonia champion. His attention now turns to the Ypres Rally which takes place in just over three weeks as the Junior WRC turns back to asphalt for the popular Belgium based closed-road event.|
| 2021 June 23
Hall makes history with FIA ERC Poland win
British rally co-driver Phil Hall guided Jon Armstrong to an historic category victory at the opening round of the FIA European Rally Championship last weekend, debuting the M-Sport Poland built Ford Fiesta Rally3 in the series at ORLEN 77th Rally Poland (18-20 June). The 32-year-old RAF Motorsport High Performing Athlete from Nottinghamshire would dovetail his assault on the FIA Junior World Rally Championship with an outing in a new generation of four-wheel-drive rally car from the M-Sport factory in Krakow, contesting the ERC3 category at the grueling high-speed gravel event.
|Hall skillfully ensured driver Armstrong could push the limits of the new machinery across the rough and sandy stages to secure his second category win of the year, adding to his maiden Junior World Rally Championship win in Croatia in April. The Motorsport UK Team UK squad member has enjoyed a dream start to 2021 after an enforced break from competition for much of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting motorsport across the globe. However, Hall would use that downtime to work hard towards a solid campaign this season and announced a new partnership with Northern Irish rallying returnee Armstrong. A plan for a full assault on the Junior World Rally Championship would follow and the newly formed duo got their season off to the best possible start with a win at the opening round of the season. Hall’s experience of the series ensured their pace continued into round two, only to be cruelly denied another top result with engine failure on the second day in Portugal. With a two month gap between Junior WRC events, an opportunity arose to tackle the opening round of the FIA European Rally Championship and Hall would head to Poland for his debut in the popular series. After the opening super special stage on Friday night, the rally proper would start on Saturday with seven stages offering over 130 kilometers of competitive driving. Hall would be competing in four-wheel-drive machinery for the first time since last year’s Goodwood Speedweek with World Champion Stig Blomqvist, but the Fiesta Rally3 soon felt like home for the progressive co-driver. Rally3 is a brand new category of 4-wheel-drive car that sits above the 2-wheel-drive Rally4 class that Hall and Armstrong currently campaign in the Junior World Rally Championship. Hall adapted to the new surroundings quickly with the proof coming in the stage times for the duo – leading the ERC3 category after the opening day with four stage victories. The gap to the nearest rival would be enough to ensure the final leg could be spent managing the lead in the category. Coping with the demanding conditions on the stages, Hall was able to guide Armstrong to the ERC3 victory and a place in the history books as the first-ever winners of the class in the European series. “It’s been a really tough rally in many ways so to come away from my European Rally Championship debut with a category win is a fantastic result,” said Hall. “To give the Fiesta Rally3 its first win at this level makes that even more special and it proves that we can adapt quickly to new challenges and still be at the front fighting for wins. The ERC was a new experience for me but I really enjoyed the difficult nature of the stages and it really allowed me to push myself in the co-driver’s seat." "It's not very often you can say you have led both a World Rally Championship and European Rally Championship category in one year so that victory was pretty special. Fighting at the front of both championships proves we are a great combination and I`d like to thank everyone who made the opportunity happen." "The remainder of the season is looking very promising and I`m very much looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year holds.”|
| 2021 March 24
Hall secures maiden Junior World Rally Championship victory
Motorsport UK Team UK squad member and RAF Reservist Phil Hall has become the first British co-driver to win a round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship since 2014, storming to a convincing victory at Croatia Rally alongside fellow Briton Jon Armstrong.
Despite the newly formed partnership contesting an event for the very first time together, Hall guided the pairing to a ground-breaking win across the perilous Croatian closed road event, securing his maiden Junior WRC win in the process. Hall now leads the Junior World Rally Championship standings.
There isn’t a better start to a new alliance than winning a round of the Junior World Rally Championship,” said Hall.
"Jon and I have put a huge amount of hard work into getting ready for this season. I felt ready for the challenge thanks to my fitness regime, honed as a part of Motorsport UK Team UK .To be rewarded with a win on probably one of the most unpredictable events I’ve done is very special indeed. I`m very proud to be part of the first British crew to win a round of the series since 2014 too”.
The five-round season blasted into life at an all-new WRC round in Croatia, with grueling stages, gravel-strewn corners and relentlessly fast country roads making up the three 15 hour competition days with 300 kilometres of special stage action.
Whilst a new partnership in the car inevitably needs time to bed in, Hall used his previous experience and the grounding that comes from being a part of Team UK to keep Armstrong firmly on track during the event.
“It was a very difficult rally for a co-driver with note delivery immensely critical so it was important to be on my A-game throughout. Jon and I had worked on our rapport during lockdown using eMotorsport training to help build trust with each other, but there is no substitute for being in a car together”.
“I’m extremely proud to be the first RAF Reserves High Performing Athlete and an RAF Reserves ambassador, competing at this elite level shows the dynamic and multi-faceted elements of life as an RAF Reserve. The Royal Air Force has helped me develop new skills and experiences, which I have transferred into the sport, and I`ve put every one of those to good use during the weekend.”
Hall believes his support network was a critical part of his victory and the support of RAF Motorsports, Directorate RAF Sport, RAF Marketing and the RAF Reserves have been key to getting this far.
“I am so lucky to be able to draw upon the skills of so many people and it has ensured I'm at the best level I’ve ever been performance wise. The development pathway in Team UK has been fantastic and getting assistance from the likes of WRC co-driver Seb Marshall is great. There is always more to learn and develop, and there’s a lot to take away from this event and work on for the next round in Portugal. I must say thank you to everyone that has supported me so far, it’s a real honour to be leading a World Championship”.
The second round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship takes crews to Portugal at the end of May for the first gravel event of the season.
| 2020 November 29
How's 2021 plans shaping up?
Phil Hall is an international level rally co-driver competing in the World Rally Championship and other events around the globe. He’s competed on 6 continents with some of the top drivers and teams.
Following a successful 2 seasons with fellow Brit Tom Williams in the Junior World Rally Championship, Phil has spent the time under COVID building opportunities for 2021 that will be announced very soon.
‘My full intention is to be back in the WRC in 2021 with an exciting new team, we are working very hard to achieve that’.
Aside from co-driving duties, Phil is one of the leading drivers in RAF Esports. Currently leading the RAF Virtual Rally Championship and coordinating eMotorsport within the RAF Video Games and Esports Association.*
| 2020 March 24
Hall becomes Royal Air Force Central Fund ambassador
World Rally Championship co-driver Phil Hall will continue to build on his sporting relationship with the Royal Air Force in 2020 as he becomes an ambassador for their independent charity, the RAF Central Fund.
Hall, a Royal Air Force Reservist himself, has been competing at a World Rally Championship level since 2015, gaining recognition from the RAF for his activities in top-level sport. In 2019, the Mansfield based ace entered into a unique collaboration with the service which saw fellow RAF Reservists experience life in one of the most demanding motorsport championships in the world. Hall along with his colleagues from the WRC were put through their paces by a series of challenges set by the RAF.
This season, Hall is set to become a key ambassador for the RAF Central Fund, a charity which supports serving RAF personnel, enabling them to take part in sports and physical activities at all levels, regardless of role, rank, or physical ability. The charity’s funding streams facilitate the use of sports facilities, equipment, and physical training and provide support to safeguard both RAF Regulars and Reservists health and wellbeing.
The principal fundraising tool of the Fund is the renowned RAF Sports Lottery, which offers entrants the chance to win up to £10,000 each week. Hall, a player of the lottery himself is delighted to be representing one of the official RAF charities through his activities as a professional sportsperson.
“It’s a prestigious honour and opportunity to represent the RAF Central Fund in 2020,” he says.
“Without the Royal Air Force, I would not be in the incredible position I am today, competing at the top level of rallying and now I`ll be able to put something back into the charity which has so actively supported me throughout my co-driving career. It would be great to think that I can also inspire other members of the RAF to get more involved in sport, no matter what level or discipline.”
The 30-year-old from Nottinghamshire will be taking time out of his co-driving calendar to spend time with RAF personnel who have expressed an interest in taking up or progressing in their chosen sport.
“I’m excited to be visiting RAF Stations and Squadrons around the UK to talk about my sporting experiences within the Force and how that has helped me progress onto the world stage” he continues.
“Hopefully along the way it will generate further interest in the RAF Central Fund and the RAF Sports Lottery and highlight just how vital the role they play is in the progression of servicemen and women in sport.”
Ross Perriam, CEO of the RAF Central Fund, expresses his charity’s delight in having Hall join their team of ambassadors.
“Our charity exists to support all serving personnel throughout their careers, whether they are regulars or reservists,” says Perriam.
“Corporal Hall personifies that, having benefited from our support both as a regular when he first joined the RAF and now as a reservist. It is great that he is choosing to give something back and highlighting to his fellow servicemen and women the benefits of participating in sport and how as a charity the Central Fund can help them achieve their goals.”
Hall is currently working behind the scenes on his 2020 co-driving plans with an announcement due in the forthcoming months
Hall is partnered by www.itsmymotorsport.co.uk and the Royal Air Force in 2020.
| Hall rounds-off season with Royal Air Force Rally Championship title
World Rally Championship co-driver Phil Hall ensured he ended his 2019 competitive season on a high, by winning the Royal Air Rally Championship thanks to a last-minute seat alongside Ross Leach at the Hall Trophy Rally.
Hall, 30 from Mansfield near Nottingham secured the hard-fought domestic title after a buoyant season in the Junior World Rally Championship, made even more poignant thanks to this season's unique collaboration with the Royal Air Force during his World Championship campaign.
His result, on the only mandatory round of the series, was enough to hand him the honour despite being a far cry from the gruelling WRC rounds he has endured this season.
Hall is often regarded as one of the leading new-generation British co-drivers and entered his fourth full season in the WRC in 2019 after making his debut at Rally Australia in 2015.
He embarked on his inaugural WRC programme in 2016 in the Drive DMACK Trophy and would spend 2017 on a whirlwind tour of the world, co-driving for a variety of rapid youngsters. He would join Briton Tom Williams at Rally Finland that year, forging a partnership that saw the duo contest the Junior WRC together ever since.
His WRC campaign also drew significant interest from the Royal Air Force and as a Reservist himself, was able to enter into a unique programme which saw fellow Reservist's experience life in one of the most demanding motorsport championships on the planet, whilst Hall and his colleagues from the World Championship were put through their paces by a series of challenges set by the RAF.
RAF Reservists from a range of trades headed to Rally Sardinia, Rally Finland, and the Wales Rally GB, visiting Hall and the M-Sport rally team to sample life in different WRC roles.
Hall's season in the Junior WRC has seen him secure 9th in the championship but he has also enjoyed other high-profile outings during the year. Former WRC co-driver Nicky Grist enlisted Hall's skills in the ex-works Toyota Celica at the Eifel Rallye Festival in the summer thanks to a break in his WRC programme.
The Royal Air Force Championship offers the opportunity to nominate rounds to score points which led to Hall only needing a solid score at the mandatory final round of the season to seal the title, which he did in style, ending his season on a positive note.
"It's most certainly been a tough season in the Junior WRC but securing the Royal Air Force Rally Championship was important for me to do this year, thanks so much to Ross for stepping up at the last minute and delivering a fantastic drive" said Hall.
"RAF Rallying holds a very close place to my heart and of course they have been alongside me in every part of my WRC journey this season, so it was a really nice way to end the year with my name on the RAF Championship trophy".
Hall is currently evaluating plans for the forthcoming year.
"The title is a nice one for the CV but undoubtedly my focus has been for some time on what 2020 and beyond holds for me. I certainly won't be standing still that's for sure and I have several opportunities to explore over the winter. It looks like another busy year ahead".
|| Back in a Toyota!
Seat fitting today in a very, very special car.
Next event is Eifel Rallye Festival, where I'm co-driving for Nicky Grist... no pressure there then.
(What does Its My Motorsports Phil Hall get up to when there's a break in WRC? Well he gets a seat fitting ready for the the Eiffel Rally when he will be guiding Nicky Grist.
A very special ST185 owned and restored to this beautiful condition by Nicky. Among their rallies Nicky navigating for Juha Kankkunen, won Rally Portugal in 1994 in this very Toyota).
| British rally co-driver Phil Hall has united with the Royal Air Force Reserves for the remainder of his 2019 Junior World
FIA Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) co-driver Phil Hall was on-track to secure a solid finish at Rally Italia Sardegna (13-16 June), before a cruel twist of fate meant he would be forced out of the event, almost within sight of the finish ramp.
Hall had guided Tom Williams through three days of gruelling, rough and rocky stages, powering their M-Sport Ford Fiesta MK8 R2T through 300km of arduous terrain across the Sardinian mountains, battling ten other JWRC crews for top honours.
After suffering two punctures and unprecedented road conditions, Hall was just a handful of miles from the finish of the final stage when a large rock pierced the sump pan of the Ford. Despite a heroic effort and temporary fix, it would not be enough to make the finish ramp and Hall was forced to record his first non-finish on his JWRC scorecard this year.
Despite not contesting Rally Sardinia previously, the itsmymotorsport.com backed co-driver would head to round three of the JWRC in the knowledge that it would prove to be one of the toughest tests of the five-round calendar.
Searing heat and very rough road conditions would make going very difficult for the Junior crews and simply making it to the end of the gruelling event would be a feat in its own right. With stages offering a wide mix of technical and super-fast sections, it would prove to be a demanding event for co-drivers as well as their pilots.
Heading into the final stage of the 19 test event, Hall would be on-course for more points in his JWRC campaign. However a rock would cause the loss of all the engine oil and despite best efforts, the British crew would not make the finish.
"We did everything we could out there today but it just wasn't to be," said Hall
"We took off the sump guard and made a temporary repair using items from our medical kit, some radiator putty we carry in the car, and anything else we could find. That actually worked for a while but it started leaking on the way to the finish ramp and when we ran out of oil altogether, it was game over".
"It's devastating but I'm really proud of the way we managed the situation. The determination we both had to make it to the finish was great and if anything we can really learn from this experience. The whole rally has been amazingly tough, both physically and mentally but I felt very prepared for it and that's important when you are competing at this level."
The 30-year-old from Mansfield near Nottingham has enjoyed a busy season both in and out of the JWRC, recently announcing a new collaboration with the Royal Air Force Reserves which will see Reservist's sample life in the World Rally Championship.
In contrast, rally team members will sample life in the RAF, each obtaining a taste of the different trades that are available to the Reserves. The programme kicked off in Sardinia with members of 611 Squadron visiting the M-Sport World Rally Team and JWRC team as well as watching the action unfold on the stages.
There were plenty of positives to take away from the weekend.
"It was great to have 611 Squadron along to Sardina with me and sample just how tough it can be in the World Championship.
They sampled life in the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team and Junior WRC services areas and even got to sit in a Fiesta R5. Watching out on the stages was a great experience too and I have to say thank you to M-Sport for making the first visit such a great success. I look forward to welcoming the next team to Rally Finland in August".
Image credit: M-Sport/JWRC
| British rally co-driver Phil Hall has united with the Royal Air Force Reserves for the remainder of his 2019 Junior World
Rally Championship (JWRC) campaign with a unique venture which will launch at the forthcoming Rally Italia Sardega (13-16 June).
A collaboration will see RAF Reservists experience life in one of the most demanding motorsport championships on the planet, whilst Phil and his colleagues from the World Championship will be put through their paces by a series of challenges set by the RAF.
RAF Reservists from a range of trades will travel to Rally Sardinia, Rally Finland, and the JWRC finale at Wales Rally GB, visiting Hall and the M-Sport rally team who are responsible for running the Ford Fiesta MK8 R2T's in the series. They will delve inside life in the WRC, meeting team members, observing the dedication required and gain a full understanding of the roles that are needed to compete at the pinnacle of the sport.
In between each event, Hall and the team will have a number of exciting opportunities to mirror the Reservists experience and sample life in the RAF, obtaining a taste of the different trades that are available to the Reserves.
Hall, 30 from Mansfield near Nottingham is often regarded as one of the leading new-generation British co-drivers, and in 2019 has embarked upon his fourth full season in the World Rally Championship after making his WRC event debut at Rally Australia in 2015. Returning to contest the JWRC for a second year in succession, Hall and driver Tom Williams have enjoyed an impressive start to the season, currently lying sixth overall in the championship.
Previously a full-time serviceman, Hall left the RAF in 2015 to pursue a full-time professional rallying career but returned as a Reservist in 2017 and was once again able to wear the iconic RAF livery that launched his career.
He is delighted to be embarking on a new initiative with the Royal Air Force within the sport of rallying and believes there are many symmetries between the two.
"This new project between myself and the RAF is a very exciting time and will give my Reservist colleagues a great insight into just what is required to be a successful rally team at this level. I think there will be some aspects that they won't expect; but teamwork, dedication and a never give up attitude will be very familiar to them.
I really can't wait to get stuck into the other side of the venture and the challenges they are going to set for me. Although I'm not quite sure what they have lined up yet, it's sure to be an interesting encounter."
| Phil went for a chat with Nicky Grist. Nicky continues to provide guidance and of course some very nice buts of kit.
You can read more on Nicky's blog here .
| The fans at @rallymobilchile were incredible. So passionate about the event and very welcoming! Can't wait to go back!
#wrclive #wrc #rally #adventure #chile #travel #globetrotter #fans
| In Chile working at the WRC although not co-driving for this new round of the Championship
#Chile you are incredible
#wrclive M-Sport FIA Junior WRC WRC
| Tour de Corse lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest co-driver challenges of the World Rally Championship last weekend (28-31 March), as Phil Hall guided fellow Brit Tom Williams to a confidence-boosting fifth place in the Junior WRC category of the event.
The Mansfield based co-driver would head to the Corsican island for the third time and was well aware of the task ahead during the weekend as the fourteen stages would have more pacenote calls than any other in the series.
After a career-best fourth place at the opening Rally Sweden last month, Hall would be looking to continue his impressive start to the season as 17 identical M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2's would go head to head across the winding Mediterranean roads on the first Tarmac test of the year.
Stages on Tour de Corse are iconic for their super-fast main roads which hug the ragged rock faces of the island, bolstered by cliff edge drops on the other. Precision is key and whilst the pace notes are always essential to strong stage times, never more so is that more important than in Corsica.
Whilst the opening day was not the longest, it was arguably the hardest on the event thanks to the six stages all taking place without a mid-day service. Tyre conservation would be critical and Hall was eager to acclimatise to the unique roads and settle into a positive rhythm for the day. Some strong stage times throughout the loop and a trouble-free run saw Hall climb to fourth place during the leg, although fifth would be the result at the end of the day.
Day two was the longest of the rally with 175km on offer, mainly due to the mind-blowing 47km Castagniccia test which would be tackled twice. A puncture early on hampered progress but Hall's challenge would certainly be the longest stage of the rally as he would need to deliver second-perfect notes for almost 35 minutes non-stop. The RAF Reservist's previous experience on the island helped, and he guided Williams back to the overnight halt still in a worthy fifth spot.
Just two stages remained on Sunday and another trouble-free blast saw Hall secure another impressive result to head into round three of the series in sixth place in the championship.
"Corsica certainly lived up to its reputation this year and as you start to climb the rallying ladder and become faster, the challenge increases as well which makes this result so very rewarding," said Hall.
"Tom drove really well this weekend and we had a great harmony in the car. On stages like this, you really need dedication from both sides of the car and it all seemed to gel. It was an immense challenge though with the highlight most certainly the 47km of the Castagniccia stage. It offered insane levels of note reading which is unrivalled really. It was most certainly a tough but thrilling rally which delivers one of the biggest challenges a co-driver can endure but I loved every second of it".
Hall will now head straight from Corsica to tackle his next adventure as he will make the trip to Asia, supporting a long-time mountaineering partner in his expedition to the peak of Mount Everest. Hall will climb to the base camp which is cited at a mind-blowing 18,000ft.
| Phil Hall will take on two of the toughest challenges of his career in the next fortnight, as the Junior World Rally
Championship (JWRC) co-driver takes on the legendary Tour de Corse (28-31 March), before climbing up to the Mount
Everest base camp at a lung-bursting 18,000ft, just a week later.
Hall, from Mansfield will be contesting round two of the prestigious JWRC alongside fellow Brit Tom Williams and the duo will be aiming to build on their career-best fourth place at Rally Sweden last month. Hall will enjoy his third stab at the Mediterranean island event and cites the rally as "his favourite" in the WRC calendar.
However, as soon as the rally finishes, Hall will embark on a further trip half way across the world to Earth's highest mountain above sea level, Mount Everest. Located in the Himalayas on the international border between Nepal and China, Hall will climb to the Nepalese base camp and although he won't attempt the summit, will still push himself to the limit on his trip to the "roof of the world".
The 30-year-old RAF Reservist is enjoying his fourth season in the WRC, second in the JWRC and has had an almost dream start to his 2019 campaign. Despite the difficult conditions in Sweden as higher ambient temperatures turned the traditional snow to slush and mud, Hall would guide Williams to his maiden top-three JWRC stage time on their way to fourth place.
The five-round series now turns to the iconic island of Corsica and marks the switch to asphalt. Sheer rock faces and huge cliff edge drops are coupled with tight and twisty roads through villages on the rally and with almost 350 kilometres of flat out action ahead, it is one of the toughest in the calendar.
But Hall cites the event as one of the best in the series and is looking forward to whatever the rally can throw at the itsmymotorsport.co.uk backed co-driver.
"This is one of the most challenging rallies I've ever contested and although its hard for a driver, this rally takes the co-driver's seat to another level" he says.
"The nature of the roads and the detail required in the notes means I have to be absolutely perfect with every note delivery. Doing that for three days solid requires plenty of stamina and concentration but its immensely rewarding. I need to be at the top of my game to guide Tom to another top finish and that is certainly the game plan. It's another difficult rally for tyres so I`ll need to help manage those as well but my previous experiences on the vent will help that".
Hall will see snow in the next two weeks, but on Mount Everest rather than Rally Sweden.
As soon as the rally is over, Hall will make the trip to Asia and Mount Everest, supporting a long-time mountaineering partner in his expedition to the peak. Despite the logistics, its an opportunity too good to miss.
"Extreme adventure is a passion of mine and this is a huge opportunity for me" says Hall.
"It will also further my fitness training which I am always keen to enhance and having some high-altitude training is a rare opportunity. It's certainly an exciting chance to further my mountain experience and maybe one day I can come back and make an attempt on the summit of the world myself. It's going to be a busy month that's for sure".
Tour de Corse starts on Friday with two loops of three stages and no opportunity for service, is followed by a long journey north to overnight in Bastia. Saturday contains over half of the total event mileage with Sunday offering just two tests to round off the event near Calvi.
| You can never have too much time in the co-drivers seat!
Hopefully not quite the conditions we can expect at Tour de Corse next week but always good to get yourself dialled in.
Nice test with Tom Williams Rallying and the EDSL Sport crew yesterday
| Great to be back at Notts TV this week with the #SportsWeek gang as I talk about my epic Rally Sweden FIA Junior
WRC result alongside Tom Williams Rallying and look ahead to Tour de Corse at the end of the month.
Phil was on Notts TV on Wednesday 13th March.
Phil left the RAF to start his professional career as a co-driver but continues in the RAF Reserve. As the RAF say, No Ordinary Job.
| Just about landed back down on earth from the weekend (and this jump) after taking the best FIA Junior WRC result
of my career at Rally Sweden.
A really tough event by all accounts and fourth place is the perfect start to the #JuniorWRC season for Tom Williams Rallying and I. Round 2, Tour de Corse can't come soon enough
| Doesn't get much better than this.
Rally Sweden - recce day 2
Despite just four stages to cover today, its been a busy afternoon with #JWRC duties ahead of tomorrow's opening super special.
| Rally Sweden recce day 1
Today was all about the stages North of the service park with tomorrow, perhaps predictably, in the south. Loving the classic Swedish stages and working hard in the car to fine tune our notes.