The FIA Junior WRC in association with DMACK is gearing up for one of its most competitive and affordable seasons to date, with over 10 competitors having registered their intention to take part in the world’s premier young driver series since applications opened just one month ago.
Offering the biggest prize in world rallying, the championship switches to M-Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta R2T turbo-charged rally cars for 2017 – the same successful arrive and drive format used by the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy for the past three seasons.
The Junior WRC has become more affordable and is seen as the perfect platform for young drivers from around the world to get their first taste of FIA World Rally Championship action in an official support series.
The huge prize, up to seven rallies at the wheel of an M-Sport-run Ford Fiesta R5 in the 2018 WRC 2 championship, offers more flexibility this season.
The six-round Junior WRC will be split into paired events and two WRC 2 prize drives will be awarded to the driver scoring the most points on each pair of rallies. An additional prize drive is presented to the overall champion. The best Rookie driver, who begins the championship with no more than two WRC starts, will also be invited to a season-ending shoot-out at M-Sport.
The new structure, which allows crews to compete on a minimum of one or two selected events to chase the prize drives, has attracted drivers from across the globe.
Sebastian Careaga from Bolivia and Mexican Miguel Medina represent South and Central America while Swede Denis Radstrom, Miko Niinemae from Estonia and Shalva Tsikhelashvili from Georgia demonstrate the diverse mix of interest in the championship.
Drivers from central Europe have also been lining up to battle for the seven prize drives. Current British Junior Champion Rob Duggan will take on French drivers Terry Folb and Nicolas Ciamin while Germany’s Julius Tannert joins after two successful seasons in the ERC Junior Championship.
The series bursts into asphalt action with the opening round at the Tour de Corse from 6-9 April where DMACK will provide competitors with its new generation asphalt tyres – fresh from taking a series of overall stage victories at Rallye Monte Carlo.
Maciek Woda, Junior WRC manager at M-Sport, said: “We’ve established a successful format with the Fiesta R2T, it has proven to be a fantastic platform for young drivers to showcase their skills. The new format has sparked interest from around the world and, with this year’s Junior WRC set to be even more cost effective, the competition will be fierce.”
Glenn Patterson, head of WRC motorsport at DMACK, said: “The Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy has offered the biggest prize in world rallying for three years and I’m pleased to see that format move into the 2017 Junior WRC. DMACK has always supported young drivers by stimulating affordable competition and this year competitors will be driving with our new range of British rally tyres – benefitting from the technology used in our top level WRC products.”