01 Apr 09
He's not been short on commitment so far. He ditched a family background in racing in favour of rallying, realising quickly that his hopes of becoming an international professional competition driver were more likely to be fulfilled on the stage than track.
He soon tasted success in the South African Championship, but realised he would have to venture further afield if he wanted to bag the Pirelli Star drive. He set off on the drive to trailer his rally car thousands of miles out of Cape Town to places like Uganda. Quite literally, a continent away from his own backyard. And comfort zone.
"You grow up quickly when you're travelling around Africa," he says. "I can't remember how many times I wondered what I was doing when we were stopped at the side of the road changing a puncture on the trailer!" But it was worth it.
"Are you kidding??" he grins. "This is awesome. I've sold everything to get here: my house, my car, I've borrowed money to make the flights, but I'm here. I've got the chance. And that's all I wanted. Now it's up to me to make the most of it. You know, some of the guys are worrying about the step from a Lancer Evolution IX to an Evo X. I'm worried because I've never even competed in an N4 car! I've never made proper pace notes; I've never competed with my co-driver before and I've never competed in a left-hand-drive car.
"It's going to be a steep learning curve in Portugal. But they're just corners aren't they? And you can get around all of those corners. And that's what I'm going to do. I've got six chances to make my dream stick."
Getting into the WRC is a dream he's harboured for all seven years he's been in rallying. But it was a meeting with a certain Scot six years ago that really fired his imagination.
He tells the tale: "Colin McRae came to South Africa on holiday and a guy that was rallying with me kind of knew him, so he and some friends came jet-skiing and quad biking for the day. I'll never forget it. One of the jet-skis had broken down, so I was lying underneath it trying to figure out what had gone wrong; I looked to my left and Colin was down there with me trying to help sort it out. What a guy! He was incredible. He was an inspiration for me."
Williams is going to need all of that inspiration as he sets out on what's certain to be the biggest year of his life.