Thu 02 Mar 2023

Inside the unique friendship of Jourdan Serderidis and Grégoire Munster

There’s more to rallying than just simple competition. Beyond the stages, bonds are formed, experiences are shared, and support is given to one another.

Business tycoon and rallying enthusiast Jourdan Serderidis embodies this spirit of camaraderie and generosity. At 59-years-old, he enjoys nothing more than driving his M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 on selected FIA World Rally Championship events.

But Serderidis is not just in it for his own enjoyment – he's also supporting the next generation of rally drivers, including 24-year-old Grégoire Munster, one of the up-and-coming stars in WRC2.

Next week, the duo will share a Puma at the Malcolm Wilson Rally - a national event in northern England which Serderidis is using as a warm-up for Guanajuato Rally México (16 - 19 March).

“It’s a bit strange,” laughs Munster, who is preparing to swap his driving gloves for a pace note book and pencil, stepping in for regular co-driver Fred Miclotte. “Just before Sweden, Jourdan asked me if I would co-drive for him. I have done one pre-event test with him in Spain, so he thought it might be fun to do it.

“I asked him first if he was aware that, at the test, I gave two wrong pace notes. Jourdan said ‘yes’, but the pace notes I gave him were too optimistic and it was the right speed. He said it was an improvement!”

This won’t be the first time Munster has strapped himself into the co-driving seat, however. He’s carried out the same role for father Bernard - a former Belgian champion - on numerous occasions.

“The first job is just to give the pace notes correctly. I have already done it before with my father, but what stresses me is more all the rules, the timing, and all these things,” the youngster admits. “I'm usually quite late in my normal life, so I will have to be very careful not to do that in the Malcolm Wilson Rally!”

Munster's own driving career has been on an upward trajectory in recent seasons. His 2022 programme included several WRC2 outings, culminating in a category victory at FORUM8 Rally Japan. He was also voted as the WRC's most improved driver of the year by fans.

Behind the scenes, quietly supporting that success, was Serderidis.

“My friendship with Jourdan started not so long ago,” Grégoire explains. “I have known Lara Vanneste, who co-drove for him before, since I was a young kid. She is actually working in one of Jourdan's companies. It was by knowing her that I came to know Jourdan, maybe one or two years ago.

“Last year we were struggling a bit with the budget. We did Monte-Carlo and then Croatia, but for our family team trying to find sponsorship left and right, it was difficult to continue the WRC2 programme. We switched back to the Belgian championship, but Jourdan helped us to go to Ypres, which was also part of WRC. Then, after that, he also helped us to go to Greece, Spain and Japan – which we ended with a victory.

“We had always done small WRC2 programmes, where we would manage to do two or three events in WRC2 before the budget was empty. It's thanks to Jourdan that we managed to do all of these rallies,” he adds.

A change in machinery sees Munster behind the wheel of one of M-Sport Ford’s Fiesta Rally2s this season, with a full WRC2 campaign to look forward to.

Several sources have recently suggested he could jump behind the wheel of Serderidis’s Puma on one or two WRC rounds later in the season, but that’s not on his radar for now.

“I'm not thinking too much about that. For sure, it's an idea, but we first have to do the results in WRC2, where there is some fierce competition.

“Our goal is first to try to be at the pace in WRC2 with the package that we have. We went from Hyundai to M-Sport, so it's all new things and still a lot of events that we have never done. We have plenty of things to learn before we can start thinking about a Rally1 seat.”

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