Tuesday | 12 Apr 2022

Franceschi returns for Junior WRC vengeance

Jean-Baptiste Franceschi is gearing up for his FIA Junior WRC return at the Croatia Rally next week (21 - 24 April).

The Frenchman will stake his claim for title glory as he jumps aboard an M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 for the first time at the Zagreb-based counter.

Franceschi, a former Junior WRC event winner, finished third in the championship in 2018 before spending the subsequent three seasons driving Rally4 and Rally2 machinery on national and FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) events. 

His 2021 ERC Junior victory secured the golden ticket, and his 2022 entry is courtesy of M-Sport’s ‘Ladder of Opportunity’ prize package in partnership with M-Sport Poland, Pirelli and ERC Promoter.

“I can't wait,” enthused Franceschi. “I’m so excited to discover the Rally3 car because I've never tried it before and it will be my first time in Croatia.

“I did Junior WRC three years ago, but it was with the help of the French Federation (FFSA). It’s not easy to come back and do Junior WRC again, especially if you do not have a lot of sponsors or something. 

“Honestly, this is like a dream, and that's why I want to give the maximum and not have any regrets,” he added. 

This year’s Junior WRC calendar contains a host of events different from those Franceschi drove in 2018. Although he contested Sweden and Portugal four years ago, he missed this year’s winter fixture due to injury.  

The Frenchman won the Tour de Corse in 2018

With drivers only able to drop one score and a non-start already to his name, the 26-year-old must try to finish strongly on every remaining round. 

“For sure, my experience of Junior WRC in 2018 is important because I know the rhythm and all the risks we can take, especially on gravel,” he continued, “but because I missed Sweden, there is no place for mistakes.

“I haven't done any tests. I tried to do some, but unfortunately there is no car like this in France. This is such a big opportunity, so I need to be at my top level and never give up.”