Fri 28 Oct 2022

Joona: WRC3 title can help me move forward

Newly-crowned WRC3 world champion Lauri Joona is hoping his title win will open more doors heading into 2023.

The Finn emerged from last week’s RallyRACC - Rally de España with the all-Ford Fiesta Rally3 category crown after beating Czech rival Jan Černý by just 9.0sec in the winner-takes-all finale. 

Joona also contested the FIA Junior WRC  - his second attempt at the series - this season and finished fourth overall. 

The 25-year-old is now evaluating his next steps and, although they currently remain unconfirmed, he believes that having the WRC3 title under his belt could help secure the backing required to take the next step - potentially into Rally2 machinery.

“I think it helps a lot always to get a title,” he said. “It is more likely you can get some budget easier. When we get the title we can step up - maybe we could get some good sponsors - but of course it’s all about money.

“It’s a really good feeling to get the championship. Our main target at the start of the year was Junior WRC but, when we realised we had some possibilities to become champion in this series, we just concentrated. 

“It was a little bit of a risk to come to Spain because I don’t have so much experience on Tarmac, particularly wet Tarmac. But, at the end of it all, it’s a risk that paid off,” he added.

Rally de España 2022: WRC3 Highlights

Luck was certainly on Joona’s side last week in Salou. His Fiesta suffered a broken driveshaft on Saturday morning but the 24km stage which preceded service was cancelled, meaning time loss was minimal. 

Černý - his only title challenger - also picked up a 10sec penalty on Saturday evening for a late check-in. Had that penalty not come to fruition, Joona would not be celebrating the title. 

“It was a big relief when I heard the stage was cancelled,” he explained. “We would not have been able to drive fast with three-wheel drive and I think, in that stage alone, we would have lost probably 20 seconds to Černý.”

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