Eight drivers have a chance of sealing the 2018 FIA Junior WRC title as the championship reaches its climax at this weekend’s Rally Turkey (13-16 September).
Leader Emil Bergkvist holds a 14-point advantage over fellow Swede Dennis Rådström ahead of the double-points finale. With 50 points for the winner, plus a point for each stage victory up for grabs, the title battle is wide open.
Consistency has been key to 24-year-old Bergkvist’s season so far. Although he is yet to win a round, three podiums from the last four events enabled him to steal top spot from Rådström when his rival crashed at Neste Rally Finland.
“I’ve really enjoyed this championship, but it’s not over yet,” Bergkvist acknowledged. “The goal from the beginning was to win the prize, and that is what we will try to do this week.”
Eager to regain his position at the top, 22-year-old Rådström won his home event and Vodafone Rally de Portugal and believes the new route for Turkey’s WRC return makes the competition more level.
He said: “We have worked and fought hard and now we are ready to fight for the title.”
Jean-Baptiste Franceschi is third in the standings, 26 points off the lead, and needs to rekindle his Corsica linea - Tour de Corse-winning form if he is to overhaul Bergkvist.
“Anything is still possible in Turkey,” he explained. “A lot can happen, and we have done as much preparation as possible so that we will have no regrets.”
An outsider for the championship is Ken Torn. A win in Finland moved him into title contention, and the Estonian is now fourth in the standings, needing to claw back 39 points to take the title.
On the periphery of the hunt are Julius Tannert, Callum Devine, Enrico Oldrati and Bugra Banaz. They will need the top four to hit trouble to have a realistic chance at Junior WRC glory.
Unable to join the title contenders is Terry Folb. The Frenchman is sixth in the championship but surgery on a torn clavicle ligament following a mountain biking accident in August has ruled him out.
Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from Rally Turkey, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.