WRC ORLEN 80th Rally Poland
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Starts: Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 8:00:00 AM
ERC Bauhaus Royal Rally of Scandinavia
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Starts: Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 12:00:00 PM
Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
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Starts: Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM

Tue 28 Feb 2023

Pellier upbeat despite Sweden blow

Laurent Pellier was more than happy to take the runners-up spot in the FIA Junior WRC at Rally Sweden, despite missing out on the win by just six-tenths of a second.

The Frenchman found himself leading the way in the all-Ford Fiesta Rally3 field going into Sunday’s final leg, having taken the top spot from William Creighton after the Irishman leaked over one minute when his car’s bonnet flew up mid-stage.

Pellier held the position right up until the penultimate test, when a recovering Creighton snuck back in front. Despite winning the Wolf Power Stage, he and co-driver Marine Pelamourgues ended a mere 0.6sec down on their rival, settling for second overall at the end of the four-day fixture.

As painful as that may seem, though, the 27-year-old is remaining positive about the whole experience, and even told WRC.com he’d surprised himself with his pace at the opening round.

“It was our first time on snow and ice, and also our first time with the car,” noted Pellier. “Okay, we lost the victory by a very small gap - but even if we had finished second with a one-minute gap, we would have been completely happy also. To finish second overall at the first rally of the year, honestly, we are really happy with that.”

Pellier’s place in this year’s one-make series is the result of a prize drive he earned by dominating last year’s FIA Junior ERC behind the wheel of a front-wheel drive Rally4 car.

Quizzed on the biggest differences between European and world-level competition, he said: “It’s quite a big step up. There are more stages, which means more roads to recce and to make pace notes for. You have four days of competition from Thursday to Sunday, so it’s also mentally tougher.”

Next up on the FIA Junior WRC calendar is the Croatia Rally, which takes place from 20 - 23 April. The Zagreb fixture marks a switch to asphalt, a surface Pellier is much more familiar with.

“I really enjoy the Tarmac and I think it’s still my preferred surface,” he enthused. “But William [Creighton] and the other guys are also super-fast in these conditions, and I am sure it will be a great fight there.

“At the moment we have no tests or special preparations planned, apart from watching the onboards. I saw the itinerary last week and it seems like there are no new stages. I will maybe do some tests with the Fiesta Rally3 just before the event, but it will only be a few kilometres.”

Junior WRC - Rally Sweden Highlights