Thu 22 Dec 2022

Climbing the ladder: Dominguez eyes Junior WRC for 2023

Ford Fiesta Rally3 frontrunner Diego Dominguez Jr. is considering a step-up to the FIA Junior WRC series in 2023.

Dominguez, who hails from Paraguay, burst into the FIA World Rally Championship limelight this season when he secured a hard-earned WRC3 victory at EKO Acropolis Rally Greece. He also came close to winning the category in Sardinia and Kenya but was ruled out of contention by mechanical failures. 

The 22-year-old contested Rally RACC - Rally de España in October, finishing a commendable third in class on what was his asphalt rally debut. Spain, he says, was all about preparation for a potential FIA Junior WRC title tilt.

“It could be something we do next year,” said Dominguez. “We came to Spain to get experience on Tarmac, just in case we do the Junior WRC. 

“We did Sardinia and Kenya with one team, then we switched to M-Sport Poland mid-way through the year. That was just so we could get to know all the guys there and understand how they work in preparation for next season.”

A stint in Junior WRC has been on the cards for some time now. Dominguez told WRC.com he previously considered the one-make series back in 2018 but was forced to put his plans on the back burner while he completed his academic studies. 

“It was kind of a decision I made with my father (Diego Sr.) a couple of years ago,” he explained. “I was supposed to come to the WRC in 2018, but I’d just finished high school and I had to go to college. 

“My dad told me that, once I’d finished my degree, I could come and compete here. So when I finished my degree in May this year, we decided to make that dream a reality and we started in Sardinia.”

Dominguez isn’t the only Paraguayan hotshot trying to make a name for himself in WRC, either. His friend and compatriot Fabrizio Zaldivar drives a Hyundai in WRC2 - and the youngster went on to explain how rallying is a big hit back home. 

“I’ve known Fabrizio since we were little kids. We started racing go-karts against each other  and now we grew up and we became rally drivers. He’s always giving me advice which is very helpful.

“After soccer or football, I would say the main sport in Paraguay is rallying. I think it’s quite underestimated sometimes, rally-wise. Back home we have more than 20 Rally2 cars - so we have a very, very big culture and the last couple of years have been very competitive in the national championship.” 

Next year’s FIA Junior WRC season includes five rallies and kicks off on the snow and ice of Rally Sweden (9 - 12 February).

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