Seventeen-year-old Bingley rally driver Sam Bilham will head to Wales next weekend as he tackles the fourth round of the BTRDA Gravel Rally Championship, the Plains Rally.

Driving his Nissan Micra, Bilham will aim to make it three wins in a row in the Rally First one-litre category and extend his lead in the championship as the season approaches the halfway mark.

Having missed the opening round of the series, Bilham is keen to make the most of the remaining events.

Bilham has excelled in his inaugural year on a gravel-surface championship but he is conscious of allowing his confidence to get the better of him in Wales.

“We had a great last event in Somerset but the Plains Rally is a totally different event and will certainly require a different approach” said Bilham.

“The stages are some of the best in the country but they also contain some really tricky sections which can catch you out if you are not 100 per cent committed. “It will be fantastic to drive on the stages used in Wales Rally GB, which is the UK round of the World Rally Championship, although I’m not sure I can compete against any of the world drivers’ stage times!”

The Welshpool-based event will be only Bilham’s third gravel event ever after contesting the Formula 1000 Junior Rally Championship in 2013.

His performance in the series caught the eye of “The Next Big Step” award founder Ian Arden and he was duly awarded the prize for 2014, which means he can compete in this popular hard fought series alongside some of the fastest drivers in the country.

The Plains Rally will start and finish in Welshpool and takes some 150 crews through over 40 miles of competitive driving on Saturday, May 17 before the finishers reach the podium during mid-afternoon.