Fri 06 Jan 2023

Irish hotshot Kelly latest to confirm Junior WRC assault

Eamonn Kelly is gearing up for the biggest challenge of his career as he steps up to the hotly-contested FIA Junior WRC series in 2023.

The 24-year-old from Donegal begins his campaign next month on the snow and ice of Rally Sweden (9 - 12 February), driving a four-wheel-drive M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 in the one-make championship. 

Kelly's journey to the world stage has been a rapid one. Just 18 months ago, he made his gravel debut and finished as the runner-up in the 2021 Junior British Rally Championship. A year later he went one better, clinching the title in a Ford Fiesta Rally4. 

His success on both gravel and asphalt surfaces earned him the prestigious Billy Coleman Award, which is presented by Motorsport Ireland each year to a promising young driver. Now he’s ready for a new challenge in the Junior WRC, where he will face off against some of the best young rally drivers in the world.

"I believe it is the best place for me to go to further myself and my rallying career," Kelly said. "It is a hugely exciting challenge with a lot of firsts - I can't wait. The past two years of my rally career have been very positive with good success, so I feel the time is right to make a jump like this."

Kelly will continue his in-car partnership with co-driver Conor Mohan, with whom he has competed since 2018. In preparation for his WRC debut, Kelly will also take part in the Arctic Lapland Rally next weekend, where he will get his first taste of rallying on snow and his first opportunity to drive the Ford Fiesta Rally3.

Other confirmed drivers for this year’s Junior WRC include Diego Dominguez and Tom Rensonnet, with more announcements expected in the coming days as the Rally Sweden entry deadline edges closer. 

The championship has proved to be a launchpad for many successful stars, with several graduates of the series going on to forge long careers at the pinnacle of the sport.

Kelly will be looking to follow in the footsteps of former Junior WRC champions including Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier who, between themselves, have amassed 17 world titles.

Images: British Rally Championship

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