HALESOWEN’S Neil Matthews and Claire Williams of Ammanford, have been working hard to gain approval to run their rapid 1600cc Vauxhall Nova in the 2014 British Rally Championship.

Following an extension to allow pre-2001 cars to run in the BRC Challenge Trophy section of the BRC, the pair are very excited to receive official notification of acceptance.

Matthews said: “It’s fantastic that we have gained permission to run, the BRC is the only National Championship which gives us the opportunity to compete against some very quick crews on both gravel and asphalt events.”

The pair first competed together in May last year and were immediately victorious with a class win by more than 1min 20secs, netting first front-wheel drive car in the process.

Williams, who only started competing in 2010, followed in the footsteps of previous World Champion co-drivers by crafting her trade in Road Rallying. The 37-year-old said: “It was great when Neil agreed to take me on board in 2013 and we gelled instantly.

“Coupled with Neil’s experience and proven pace, it was a no-brainer when he asked me to join him in his Challenge Trophy campaign.”

BRC managing director Mark Taylor said: “We are excited to receive a Challenge Trophy entry from Neil and Claire who are benefiting from our extension of permissible vehicles to pre-2001.

“As a previous BRC Challenge Champion in 2009, I am sure that Neil will be aiming to be competing at the sharp end and seeing how he fares against some of the fastest up-and-coming drivers in more-modern machinery.”

The pair have undertaken a pre-season test and plan for another with a practice event in March before starting their championship campaign at the Welshpool-based Rally North Wales ion April.