JOSH McErlean together with his Herefordshire co-driver Keaton Williams took a superb third overall and first in RC2 class in the Olympus Rally based near Seattle in the USA.

This was the first time the duo had ventured to America for a ARA Championship event and another opportunity for McErlean to gain valuable experience ahead of a proposed European Rally Championship campaign.

The Olympus Rally attracted a good entry with the two factory backed Subaru Impreza's of Travis Pastrana and Brandon Semenuk who were joined by the legendary Ken Block in a Monster Energy backed Impreza.

The format for the event was eight tests on the Saturday totalling some 128 kilometres, including two runs at the 29.76km 'Wildcat stage' but the second run in darkness was sadly cancelled.

Day two offered just four tests giving some 96kms.

Dry weather during the recce gave way to rain and drizzle making the fast stages extremely slippery.

The duo opened their account with fourth fastest on the first test, this continued on the next two stages to hold fourth at service.

“The stages are so fast they're insane, has anyone got an eight- speed gearbox for a Hyundai,” said McErlean who was in the PCRS prepared Hyundai R5.

The positions stayed the same over the next loop with the three powerful open class Subaru's pulling away on the ultra fast stages.

The last stage of the day was the awesome Wildcat test including nearly 30kms of twisty, slippery and technical terrain.

This was where McErlean and Williams really got it together and set fastest time by two seconds.

"It feels so good to get our first stage win here in America," said Williams.

"We had a good rhythm and pushed really hard, it just clicked."

Sunday's loop opened up with the duo third fastest on the 31kms of Nahwatzel, from here on in third fastest on the next three tests saw them arrive back at the finish still holding the impressive third overall and the RC2 class win with Pastrana taking another win from Ken Block in second.

For McErlean and Williams the event could not have gone any better.

“It was an absolutely amazing experience, the stages were like Wales Rally GB in places, we had a lot still to do, but the car was faultless thanks to the boys at PCRS,” said McErlean.

The duo would also like to thank Motorsport Ireland Academy, Hyundai Customer Racing, and Enda McCormack for the loan of his car.

When asked if they would like to return at some point?

“Too right, fantastic rally and great stages,” added Williams who is looking forward to an exciting season ahead.