Wednesday | 24 Nov 2021

New-look calendar tempts Junior WRC hotshots

Two new events feature in next season’s first four-wheel drive FIA Junior World Rally Championship.

The five-round calendar for the sport’s rising young stars announced on Wednesday (24 November) adds Sweden and Greece to successful fixtures in Croatia, Portugal and Estonia that starred in 2021.

For the first time the Junior WRC will be four-wheel drive, using M-Sport Poland’s new Fiesta Rally3 (pictured top). It will give the sport’s stars of the future a perfect introduction to life in the WRC as they embark on international careers.

Next year’s championship will take in every type of surface offered on the full WRC calendar.

It begins in February in Sweden’s winter wonderland. A new snow and ice rally brings a fresh challenge for all as the event moves north to the east coast town of Umeå, 600km north of capital Stockholm.

Croatia’s demanding asphalt is next up in April, having launched the 2021 championship, before drivers sample the first of three gravel rounds in Portugal the following month.

In July, Estonia’s fast and smooth roads are visited for a third time since the Baltic country first appeared in 2020. The season concludes on the rough and tough dirt tracks of Greece in September.

Double points will be on offer in the finale to all crews that start a minimum of three rounds.

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The championship is open to drivers born on or after 1 January 1992. The winner will be rewarded with four arrive and drive rallies at European rounds of the 2023 WRC2 – the WRC’s premier support category – in an M-Sport Fiesta Rally2 car.

The winner will also receive a day’s testing at each event ahead of the start, a full tyre package from Pirelli, free WRC2 registration and four free entries.

Championship manager Maciej Woda believes the calendar contains a perfect mix of classic WRC events and newer additions that have already become firm favourites.

Video FIA Junior WRC 2022

“We have worked very hard to make sure next year’s Junior WRC crews gain wide-ranging experience on every surface the WRC has to offer in an effort to prepare them for their future careers,” he explained.

“The purpose of the championship is to provide an accessible introduction to the WRC, so a balanced and representative calendar is of paramount importance.

“This representative calendar is now underlined by the representative experience 2022’s crews will gain by competing in the four-wheel drive Fiesta Rally3, which will see a step up in performance and speed for this incredibly competitive championship.”

Sami Pajari (right) and Marko Salminen won the 2021 title

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