Quentin Gilbert starts next week’s Tour de Corse Rallye de France (1 - 4 October) as hot favourite to win the FIA Junior WRC category and claim the title with two rounds to spare.
The 26-year-old Frenchman won three of the first four rounds in Citroën’s DS 3 R3-MAX and a fourth success on the twisty and narrow Mediterranean island roads will secure the crown.
Gilbert holds a 33-point lead over Henri Haapamäki, but the Finn will not contest any further rounds. Simone Tempestini is a point further back and although the Italian will compete in Corsica, it is not one of his nominated scoring events.
So young Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby will be Gilbert’s main rival, and he has a 41-point gap to close in the standings. Having secured podiums in Monte-Carlo and Finland, 19-year-old Veiby has been the season’s biggest revelation.
There is a string of French drivers hoping to do well on their home event, headed by Jean-René Perry, Pierre-Yves Loubet, who lives in Corsica, and Terry Folb, who has shown strong pace all year.
Two other French drivers make their Junior WRC debuts in the 11-car entry, Jordan Berfa and Jean-Philippe Martini, who hails from Ajaccio, which hosts the event’s start and finish.
All Junior WRC contenders are also registered for WRC 3, along with Tempestini and the Renault Clio R3T of Andrea Crugnola. Gilbert heads the WRC 3 standings by 10 points from Veiby, with Crugnola third.