Thu 09 Feb 2023

Experienced Creighton tops entry for Junior WRC opener

William Creighton heads a talent-packed entry for the opening round of the FIA Junior WRC at Rally Sweden (9 - 12 February).

Nine budding stars will fight for glory in the one-make M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 series, which gets underway this week in Umeå. Creighton, 25, is the only driver with recent championship experience and returns for his third successive campaign.

With experience comes pressure, Creighton admits. However, the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy youngster is remaining humble and accepts he won’t have necessarily have it all his way on the snowy roads of northern Sweden.

“I suppose there’s always pressure, especially at this level,” he said. “But, if you do have pressure, there’s more adrenaline, and that’s not a bad thing. I’m not underestimating the competition; we have to do everything we can to fight for stage and rally wins.

“Shakedown was pretty tricky with the ruts, and it was quite narrow towards the end, but the build-up has been exciting and there’s a lot of new drivers here. It’s brilliant to be back in Sweden - I did a national round last weekend and it was a brilliant warm-up.”

Despite already having a factory supported WRC2 programme with M-Sport Ford this season, Grégoire Munster makes his Junior WRC debut in a bid to gain experience in the winter conditions.

Munster was fastest through Thursday morning’s shakedown, but only by two-tenths of a second over France’s Laurent Pellier, who is competing this year courtesy of his prize drive for clinching the 2022 FIA Junior ERC title.

Pellier is not completely new to Junior WRC and, amazingly, starts this event with a 100 per cent winning record in the category. He made a one-off appearance at the Tour de Corse back in 2016 where he grabbed a surprise victory.

Paraguayan rookie Diego Dominguez adds some south American flavour to the fledgling field while Eamonn Kelly, who finished an impressive fourth on shakedown, is another hotshot making his debut.

Spain is also well-represented by Raúl Hernández and Roberto Blach, while Belgium’s Tom Rensonnet and Kenya’s Hamza Anwar complete the field.

  • Full coverage from Rally Sweden will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.
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