Tue 06 Sep 2022

Stage set for final round Junior WRC thriller

All six FIA Junior WRC drivers entered in this week’s EKO Acropolis Rally Greece (8 - 11 September) could walk away with the 2022 crown.

Double points are on offer as well as an extra point for every single stage win, which means it’s still all to play for in the one-make M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 series. And, with a huge prize waiting for the eventual winner, the pace is going to be hot. 

This year’s champion will win four prize drives in the 2023 WRC2 series with an M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2. They will also have the chance to test the car prior to each round while also receiving a full tyre package courtesy of Pirelli.

Last year’s victor Sami Pajari has the potential to make history as the first Junior WRC driver to successfully defend their crown. He shares the championship lead with Ulsterman Jon Armstrong, although once dropped scores are taken into account, the Finn is in a slightly stronger position.

For Armstrong, it’s a case of déjà vu. He found himself in a similar position at the final round in 2021 but crashed out of contention on the penultimate day - enabling Pajari to pick up the pieces and seal the title. 

Just one point behind is Robert Virves, who could become the first Estonian Junior WRC champion should he play his cards right this week. Amazingly, the 22-year-old is yet to win a rally but has finished on the podium three out of four times this season.

Lauri Joona - winner of round two in Croatia - also has a realistic chance. He has vowed to maintain his cleverly consistent approach over the four-day fixture’s rough gravel terrain.

“On a rally like this you really need to look after your car while still finding the areas where you can drive as fast as you can,” Joona explained. “I think one of my biggest strengths is consistency and looking after the car, which is very important here.”

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy youngster William Creighton’s chances rely on those up front hitting trouble. He trails the leaders by 47 points, with 66 still available. Mcrae Kimathi’s hopes  are even slimmer and the Kenyan rounds off the entry with Mwangi Kioni alongside. 

• Full coverage from EKO Acropolis Rally Greece will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM