Wed 22 Feb 2023

Sweden winner Creighton braced for tougher competition ahead

Rally Sweden winner William Creighton has acknowledged that the FIA Junior WRC competition is only going to get tougher as the 2023 season progresses.

The youngster produced a plucky comeback drive at the opening round earlier this month after his Ford Fiesta Rally3’s bonnet flew up mid-stage, costing over a minute and leaving him with only three stages to make up a 19.7-second deficit.

Despite the setback, Creighton's determination paid off as he passed Laurent Pellier on the final day to clinch victory by just six-tenths of a second, marking the second-closest FIA Junior WRC finish in history.

"It was a great way to start the year by getting my first Junior WRC win, and also a really nice way to repay the faith the team at the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy have put in me," he recalled. "Ever since Christmas it's been a busy time for everyone, and all the hard work seems to be paying off so far.”

But Creighton was also quick to point out that, as the only driver to have contested last year’s championship, experience was on his side in Sweden.

With an asphalt outing at the Croatia Rally (20 - 23 April) up next, followed by a trio of gravel fixtures in Italy, Estonia and Greece, the 25-year-old is keenly aware that his peers will only get quicker as the year progresses.

"In Sweden we managed to build up quite a good lead, at least up until Saturday afternoon. But out of all the drivers, I had the most experience of that event and of driving on snow and ice,” he noted.

"Moving onto the Tarmac and gravel events now, the other guys are going to be more at home and they're obviously going to be even more competitive. Sweden was probably the most difficult rally for Laurent [Pellier] in terms of his experience, and it’s only going to get better for him.

"All we can do is approach the next rallies the way we’d approach any event - by preparing as well as possible and going as fast as we can without making any mistakes. We’ll have to be at the top of our game in Croatia, that’s for sure.”

Junior WRC - Rally Sweden 2023: Event Highlights
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