BINGLEY rally driver Sam Bilham has set his sights on winning the Fiesta ST Trophy title – despite missing the opening round.

After becoming the Maxxis MSA English Rally champion and Fiesta ST Trophy runner-up last season, Bilham was handed the prestigious 2300 Club John Easson Award and will use the £5,000 prize fund to push for the single-make crown he narrowly missed out on.

The 20-year-old Yorkshireman has an extensive list of titles to his name, including the Next Big Step Award and MSA English Junior Champion as well as last year's honours.

But he narrowly missed out on the Fiesta ST Trophy after leading for much of the year and now believes he is in an ideal position to push for the championship.

"It was a natural step to move into the Fiesta last year but it was also a steep learning curve, getting used to left-hand drive and much more power than my old Nissan Micra," said Bilham.

"I now have the experience gained from last season to move forward with my pace – and of course winning the John Easson Award will play a significant part in my testing programme, which will also help."

Bilham will have a new co-driver alongside him this season in the shape of Scottish pilot Cameron Fair.

"I did suffer a little last year with not being able to have a regular co-driver, so it will be great to have Cameron on board," said Bilham.

But his title hopes will have to wait a few more weeks as he had to miss the opening round of the campaign, the Cambrian Rally, due to a parts shortage on the Fiesta.

Bilham said: "We have been really unlucky during the winter. Despite having plenty of time to rebuild the car, we had several wrong parts delivered from Poland which has meant we haven't had the right parts to finish the gearbox in time.

"This does mean, however, we can hopefully get some testing in before we head to the Malcolm Wilson Rally in March."

Bilham is supported by 2300 Club John Easson Award, Calvert Construction, Reis Motorsport Insurance, Northern Life Magazine, The Next Big Step, Gareth Hooper Motorsport Services and The Garage at Stanley Mills.