The Visiting Briton Making an Impact in the ARA
While a lot of the LN4 class eyes have been on the all-but-finished Mark Piatkowski vs Ele Bardha battle this year, one visiting Briton has been sneaking up on their times each time he takes to the stages and is proving himself with high placement both in class and overall.
Will Graham, the 25-year-old second-generation rally driver, has been impressing in the American Rally Association presented by DirtFish National series behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Evo X running L4WD, but while it’s his first year here, it’s not his first time rallying.
“I’ve been in rallying competing for the last nine years.” Graham said after Lake Superior Performance Rally.
“I first started as a co-driver with my father [Ernie Graham] back in the UK and in Ireland, and I’ve been driving for the last five years. While I’m here in the US I thought it would be good to get into competing in some of the events here as well.”
Graham’s Evo has an R4 rally suspension on it, and it’s well built by one of the best Mitsubishi rally car builders in the US.
“I’ve been working really closely with the guys at RKT Motorsport,” Graham said. “They’ve been helping me with getting the car ready and everything. It’s my first experience with four-wheel-drive so it still takes a lot of getting used to, but we’re getting up to speed.”
Graham’s European experience is far different than what he’s been doing in the US. His first two years were spent running a Fiesta R2, and most of his racing since then has been in a historic class BMW M3 E30 – a car in which he excelled in.
“Back in 2019 I was doing the European Historic Rally Championship and we had some really good results, especially in Finland we were fifth overall against all the really fast Finnish guys,” he said. “Also in Italy we were ninth overall, and quickest non-Italian.”
While the experience in the US has been good, it’s unfortunately not permanent.
“It’s good to be involved here while I’m here in the States, but I think I’ll be back in Europe by the end of next year and [I’ll] continue with the historics. That’s really our passion as a family, we love the more historic cars, and I’m sure we’ll continue to enjoy doing that,” he explained.
That’s not to say the US experience has been all for naught for Graham though. Despite some mechanical issues at New England Forest Rally that caused him to retire, he showed impressive pace in his other two ARA rounds, with ninth overall and third in LN4 at Southern Ohio, and fifth overall at LSPR.
“The rallies here are brilliant I’m really impressed with the quality of the stages and the character of the stages. There’s a brilliant community here and everything, and it’s just great fun, that’s what it’s all about really.
“[LSPR] ranks up there as one of the best results I’ve ever had, and I couldn’t be happier.”