Fri 08 Sep 2023

Creighton’s crisis opens the door for Junior WRC rivals

FIA Junior WRC championship leader William Creighton’s hopes of claiming the title were delivered an early blow at EKO Acropolis Rally Greece - leaving rivals Laurent Pellier and Diego Dominguez to battle it out on Friday.

Greece plays host the double classification points-paying final round of the 2023 FIA Junior WRC season and, coming into the rally, Irishman Creighton knew he could not show any complacency - aware that his 29-point advantage over closest rival Pellier could easily disappear.  

With points also on offer for every stage win, Creighton wasted no time on Thursday evening in mounting his attack in the all-Ford Fiesta Rally3 category, taking the opening stage win on Athens’ waterfront.  

But come Friday morning, the luck of the Irish was eluding him. After a cautious start to the opener when he posted the fourth-fastest time, Creighton crawled through the following stage with radiator damage.

In a bid to avoid causing any further damage, Creighton and co-driver Liam Regan pushed their car three kilometres to the nearby tyre fitting zone where they had hoped that repairs could be made. But the pair's efforts were in vain and their worst fears realised as their day was confirmed to be over.  

Dominguez, who sat just one point back from Pellier in the standings before this round, was best able to take advantage of Creighton’s woes. 

He picked up back-to-back stage wins to build an 8.9sec lead over Pellier. However, the Frenchman stormed back into contention on the day’s penultimate stage, posting the benchmark time and slicing Dominguez's lead to just a single tenth. 

Incredibly, reigning Junior ERC champion Pellier went on to claim the final stage of the day by a tenth of a second – meaning the frontrunning duo returned to Lamia's service park tied in first place. 

Sitting third and targeting his second Junior WRC podium of the season was Belgium’s Tom Rensonnet, 1min 53.5sec down on the leading pair. He headed Eamonn Kelly and Hamza Anwar.

Bolvian debutant Nataniel Bruun Sosa overcame an early-morning roll to end the day sixth while Roberto Blach completed the leaderbord. Creighton, meanwhile, must restart on Saturday if he is to keep his title hopes alive. 

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM