Tue 18 Jul 2023

Laid-back Pellier cool on Junior WRC hopes

French driver Laurent Pellier remains remarkably composed ahead of this week’s Rally Estonia (20 - 23 July) - despite the weight of his FIA Junior WRC title hopes hanging in the balance.

Sitting third overall in the M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 category, Pellier finds himself trailing series leader William Creighton by a hefty 33 points ahead of this penultimate round.

Conceding a further 31 points to Creighton this week would keep the Frenchman mathematically in contention approaching the finale in Greece, where double points are on offer, although he acknowledges that a victory on Estonia's lightning-fast gravel roads is his only realistic hope.

Up for grabs to the eventual champion are four arrive and drive rallies on European WRC events in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 car (the next step up from Rally3) in 2024. For Pellier, it’s a life-changing opportunity - but he’s refusing to bow to any pressure.

“Okay, the championship is complicated for us,” he told WRC.com, “but if we want to keep some mind to win at the end, we need to win this week.

“I understand that maybe we could have some pressure on us but, to be honest, completely no. We just want to be focused on our proper pace and we just need to take some stage win points. We have seen since the start of the season that we have been very unlucky but maybe that can change. We will see.”

Pellier, who is co-driven by Kevin Bronner, turned heads earlier this season by finishing just six-tenths of a second behind Creighton on his ice-driving debut at Rally Sweden. He led in Croatia before an engine failure forced his retirement and finished fourth last time out in Italy despite crashing on the penultimate day.

Rally Estonia 2023: Everything you need to know

“I think I was very surprised in Sweden because I was discovering everything for the first time,” he admitted, “but on Tarmac I think everybody was waiting for us because usually in rallying French guys are often fast on Tarmac sections.  

“In Sardinia, yes, for sure our pace was good, but it was also a rally which William was discovering for the first time also. Maybe that was helping us, but I was happy to be at the front and to be [fighting] with the top guys.”

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