And after three rounds a 24-year-old, Hayden Paddon, and a 21-year-old, Martin Semerad, head the championship standings in their Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Lancer respectively.
Paddon began his campaign on the second event of the season in Portugal and promptly sped to victory in his New Zealand World Rally Team entry. He repeated the feat on the next round in Argentina to move into the joint series lead with Semerad.
The Czech student started his title bid with victory in Sweden back in February and was a podium finisher again in Portugal. However, he needed SupeRally to finish a distant fifth in Argentina.
Peruvian champion Nicolas Fuchs is third overall, despite having no prior knowledge to the three rounds he has tackled so far this season.
A lack of event experience has also plagued Russian Dmitry Tagirov and Ukrainians Valeriy Gorban and Yuriy Protasov. Nevertheless all three have made solid progress during their maiden PWRC campaigns to hold fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in the championship battle.
Benito Guerra is also facing a steep learning curve in his Mitsubishi as he competes on several rallies for the first time. After two appearances the Mexican is seventh in the points’ standings, one place ahead of Patrik Flodin.
The Swede, runner-up in the PWRC last season, was expected to dominate in his Impreza. But exclusion due to a technical infringement on his home rally, followed by a time-consuming roll in Portugal means he is currently 31 points behind Paddon and Semerad and seemingly out of contention for the title.
Pole Michal Kosciuszko and Norwegian Anders Grondal are also languishing in the wrong half of the championship table ahead of the next PWRC round, Neste Oil Rally Finland. Kosciuszko, who has been a regular in the WRC support categories for several seasons, is making his PWRC debut this season and has yet to show his true pace in his Ralliart Italy Lancer.
Grondal should have won in Sweden but for an engine failure to put him out of action. He then suffered a heavy crash in Portugal and it remains to be seen whether he can raise sufficient funds to complete the season.
More is expected from Oleksander Saliuk, a point-scorer twice this season, while young Briton Harry Hunt has dominated the Production Car Cup in his two-wheel-drive Citroen DS3 and remains on the cusp of landing his first outright PWRC points.