Fri 13 Jan 2023

Fresh look for Junior WRC: Full 2023 line-up confirmed

A flurry of upcoming stars are preparing to make their FIA Junior WRC debuts this season, with the full list of 2023 entrants revealed today (Friday).

The one-make Ford Fiesta Rally3 series has experienced year-on-year growth of almost one-third, with nine budding stars set to contest this year’s five-round championship in identical cars run by M-Sport Poland.

Up for grabs is a life-changing prize consisting of arrive and drive outings on four European WRC rounds in 2024 with an M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 car (the next step up from Rally3), plus a tyre support package courtesy of Pirelli. The eventual champion will also get the chance to test on the Monday prior to each event to gain more experience.

As confirmed by WRC.com earlier this week, William Creighton starts the year as one of the frontrunning favourites with a handy two years of Junior WRC experience already under his belt. But Creighton isn’t the only driver making a return to the championship…

WRC fans may be unfamiliar with Laurent Pellier, but the Frenchman currently has a 100 per cent winning record in the Junior WRC.

Pellier, 27, made a one-off appearance at the 2016 Tour de Corse where he shocked many by winning the category. His assault on the 2023 series comes courtesy of M-Sport’s ‘Ladder of Opportunity’ prize package in partnership with M-Sport Poland, Pirelli and ERC Promoter, which Pellier duly earned by dominating last year’s Junior ERC championship.

Despite already putting pen to paper on a deal to drive for M-Sport Ford in WRC2 this season, Grégoire Munster has made a surprise entry as he seeks to gain as much experience as possible. Next month’s opening round at Rally Sweden (9 – 12 February) marks the 24-year-old’s first rally on snow.

Just like compatriot Creighton, Eamonn Kelly’s maiden campaign has been made possible by the Motor Sport Ireland Rally Academy, and Tom Rensonnet also has the support of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium.

Diego Dominguez will be hoping to capitalise on the knowledge he gained whilst driving a Fiesta in last year’s WRC3 championship, while newcomers Raúl Hernández and Roberto Blach both hail from Spain.

Africa is also represented with Hamza Anwar set to compete inside Europe for the first time in his career. Anwar is one of Kenya’s latest promising young talents and made his WRC debut at Safari Rally Kenya in 2021, steering a Fiesta Rally3 second in class.

This year’s Junior WRC calendar comprises five challenging rallies on a mixture of surfaces. It gets underway on the snow and ice of Rally Sweden before heading to Croatia – home to some blisteringly-quick asphalt roads.

Gruelling gravel tests in Italy, Estonia and Greece round out the season, with the bonus incentive of double points on offer at the final round.

2023 FIA Junior WRC crews:

Driver Co-Driver
William Creighton (IRL) Liam Regan (IRL)
Laurent Pellier (FRA) Marine Pelamourgues (FRA)
Grégoire Munster (LUX) Louis Louka (BEL)
Eamonn Kelly (IRL) Conor Mohan (IRL)
Tom Rensonnet (BEL) Loïc Dumont (BEL)
Diego Dominguez (PRY) Rogelio Peñate (ESP)
Raúl Hernández (ESP)  Rodrigo Sanjuan (ESP)
Roberto Blach (ESP) Mauro Barreiro (ESP)
Hamza Anwar (KEN) Adnan Din (KEN)

*Entries correct at time of publishing.

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