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– Progressive rally driver William Creighton begins Junior World Rally Championship campaign in Croatia next weekend (22-25 April)
– Confidence boosting class podium at Valašská Rally offered an important experience of European stages
– Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy member believes his “focus” on the challenge ahead will be key to a positive season start

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy member William Creighton will make his debut in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship next week at the season-opening Croatia Rally (22-25 April).

Creighton, 23 from Moira in Co. Down will go head-to-head against some of the fastest up and coming drivers in the world in a bid to take the coveted Junior WRC title and the opportunity to take the next step of the World Rally Championship ladder in 2022.

After an impressive performance at the Kowax Valašská Rally ValMez in the Czech Republic earlier this month which saw him take second in the RC4 class against a host of rapid locals, Creighton heads into his Junior WRC debut with a positive mindset, despite the pressures and unknowns of tackling his first round as a Junior WRC driver.

With regular co-driver Liam Regan alongside, the progressive youngster will contest five action-packed rounds, with all drivers piloting identical M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally4’s. With each crew in matching machinery, the focus is simply on talent and skill behind the wheel, with the fastest driver taking the spoils this season.

The winner of the prestigious series will receive a brand new M-Sport Fiesta Rally2, 200 free tyres from Pirelli and registration into the WRC3 category in 2022, seen as the next step on the WRC ladder of opportunity. But Creighton is taking a calm but focused approach to his season and the Croatia Rally.

“It would be really easy to get wrapped up in the pressure and excitement of doing your first-ever Junior World Rally Championship round, but there are so many unknowns on the opening rally, you could tie yourself in knots trying to predict what will happen and that’s just not healthy,” says Creighton.

“I’m really focused on the challenge ahead and I know that it will be very different to anything that I’ve done before but I believe I am as prepared as I can be and that in itself takes the pressure off the situation. I don’t underestimate how challenging this will be, it’s the World Rally Championship – but I`m channeling all that energy into making sure we learn, adapt and ultimately get some important points on the board”.

Creighton headed to the Czech Republic in an Orsák Rally Sport run Fiesta Rally4 to gain valuable experience of the ultra-fast but varied closed asphalt roads. Despite being his first trip to the country and a new team, Creighton adapted perfectly to secure a handful of stage wins to secure second in class.

“It was a tremendous experience and Orsák were superb. Everything was very relaxed and it all just worked perfectly. But I`m very glad we went because it was a world away from anything I’ve competed on before so at least I have my eye in now. It was very valuable indeed”.

Creighton is eager to get the season underway but is realistic about his chances on the opening round of the season.

“It’s hard to know what our pace will be like against the other crews” he continues.

“But I really can’t let that bother me and I will certainly be doing my own thing for the first day and see where that puts us. Never before has finishing a rally been more important and with only four rounds to score on, I`ll certainly be balancing pace with risk. We will be finding our feet on day one and go from there. It’s a huge opportunity and I need to go out there and make the most of it. Once again thanks to the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy and my sponsors Creightons, PRM Group, DGM Sport and Race and Rally”.

Rally Croatia offers over 300km of special stage spread across three days of action, centred around the event base in Zagreb.

You can follow his progress throughout his Junior World Rally Championship campaign this season by following him on his social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Image Credit: Graham Baalham-Curry

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