WRC ORLEN 80th Rally Poland
Poland
Starts: Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 8:00:00 AM
ERC Delfi Rally Estonia
Estonia
Starts: Friday, July 5, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM
Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
Sweden
Starts: Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM

Thu 02 Feb 2023

Why Munster is doing Junior WRC in Sweden

With a WRC2 victory already under his belt, Grégoire Munster isn’t your typical FIA Junior WRC driver.

But the 24-year-old youngster, who triumphed in the FIA World Rally Championship’s second tier at FORUM8 Rally Japan last year, is preparing to make his FIA Junior WRC debut at Rally Sweden (9 - 12 February).

Junior WRC is a one-make series for aspiring young drivers in identical M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 cars. The season kicks off next week, with a huge WRC2 prize drive in 2024 up for grabs for the eventual champion.

Munster hasn’t got his eyes on that prize, however - and he’s already agreed a full WRC2 campaign aboard one of M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta Rally2s this season. Instead, his winter excursion is all about gaining experience on snow - a surface that, until a pre-event test on Wednesday, was completely alien to him.

“It’s quite different,” laughs Munster when asked about his first ice-driving experience. “The more sideways you go, the more grip you get with the [tyre] studs really entering the thick ice. The grip level gets quite exponential and that’s really quite nice to drive on.

“If you ask me what surface I prefer to drive on, it’s gravel - and maybe now it’s snow. I started driving in Belgium and there you have only Tarmac events, so naturally I am a bit more of a Tarmac driver.”

The beauty of Munster registering for Junior WRC points at the opening round is that he’ll be able to compare his performance like for like against drivers with similar experience in identical machinery.

As for the car, the Fiesta Rally3 is marketed as an entry point for drivers making the step into four-wheel drive machinery. As such, it’s less powerful, less technically advanced but more affordable than its Rally2-specification counterpart which Munster debuted at Rallye Monte-Carlo last month.

Although some would argue Munster’s Rally3 outing is a backwards step, the performance difference - in comparison to the cars he’s used to driving - isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as he explains.

“It’s a really good lesson. I previously did some one-make cups in Germany, for example, and driving cars that are less powerful actually requires more attention sometimes.

“You have to concentrate on carrying speed, but not entering the corner too fast to make sure you get a good exit. You can’t enter too fast and use the power to get you out - you really have to think about that and be efficient, so that’s why I think it’s a good school.”

Nine FIA Junior WRC drivers have entered Rally Sweden. Out of those nine, just two (William Creighton and Laurent Pellier) have previously contested a round of the championship.