With the championship sealed at Rallye de France, none of the nine entrants has anything to lose as they approach the mixed-surface event.
And since most of the Juniors are more experienced on one surface - gravel or asphalt - Spain could prove to be the most open event of the year with the mixture of surfaces giving everyone a chance to prove what they’re made of.
They’ll have an extra day to play with too, because for the first time this year the Juniors will tackle the whole event, rather than just two days.
With the title in the bag, Sweden’s Pontus Tidemand is aiming to learn as much as possible about the rally before collecting his prize of a WRC 2 campaign next year.
“Now that I have a programme confirmed for 2014, in the form of my Junior WRC prize, I need to gather as much experience as possible to take forward with me,” he said. “Risking retirement wouldn’t be beneficial to my long-term goals. That said, it would be nice to come home with a full house of Junior WRC podiums – and of course I won’t ever take my eye off the win itself!”
Spaniards José Suárez and Yeray Lemes fought hardest to try and stop Tidemand from taking the title home in France. And although they were unable to defeat the Swede in the Alsace, they don’t want to let him get the better of them on their home soil.
Tyres choices will be crucial to success on this unique asphalt and gravel event. Passing through worn stages with deepening cuts presents a further challenge for the Junior drivers in their GEM-fuel powered Ford Fiesta R2 cars, so choosing the right tyre strategy could be essential to a good result.
Hankook Motorsport Director Mike Patterson is sure the tyres used by all Junior WRC competitors are up to the test: “Based on how our tyres have performed so far this season, I feel confident that they’ll deliver the performance the young drivers are after in Spain this weekend.
“As always, there’ll be Hankook engineers at the end of every stage ready to offer advice and support to the crews throughout the event. However, the drivers themselves make the final call, so it’s over to them to make sure those key decisions count!” he added.