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– William Creighton secured his first-ever Junior World Rally Championship podium with third place at Rally Sweden
– Moira driver enjoys positive start to his second season despite WRC snow rally debut
– Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver buoyed by season prospects in new-generation championship

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver William Creighton claimed his first-ever FIA Junior World Rally Championship podium at the weekend, taking third place at the opening round of the season, Rally Sweden [25-27 February].

Creighton, 24 from Moira in Co. Down threaded his M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally3 through the frozen heartland stages with an impressive pace on his WRC snow rally debut, storming to a maiden WRC podium and starting his Junior WRC season in fine style.

Along with co-driver Liam Regan, Creighton adapted perfectly to the new-look category which sees the switch to four-wheel-drive Rally3 machinery in 2022. The progressive youngster’s performance ensures he racks up valuable points on his Rally Sweden debut to start his five-round campaign with a confidence-boosting result.

“I`m really happy with this result considering my lack of experience on this surface and to come away with a podium on the opening round is a very positive sign indeed,” said a delighted Creighton.

“Our pace was consistent all weekend and a stage win shows we could dial up the speed when necessary but to keep that up all weekend would mean we would be on the limit with huge potential for a non-finish. A podium is a perfect start”.

The reigning Junior British Rally Champion would re-join the exciting series after a bumper season in 2021 and Creighton will go head-to-head with some of the fastest Junior pilots in the world, each piloting identical Rally3 machinery in the bid to win one of the closest fought championships in the world.

Having taken sixth place in last year’s series, Creighton’s aim was undoubtedly to improve on that position this time around but the unique frozen winter event would be a new feature for him. A pre-event test programme helped him to acclimatise to driving on studded tyres and thick ice for the very first time, ensuring he was prepared for the challenge ahead.

Three days of competitive action and over 260 kilometres lay in wait for the contenders and Creighton wasted no time in ramping up the pace, sitting in an impressive third overall after the opening loop of stages on Friday. That confidence grew during the leg, taking his first fastest time of 2022 on the final stage of the day to further enhance his position.

The longest leg of the rally on Saturday brought additional challenges in rutted stages on the second pass and it was far from trouble-free for the Irishman. A handful of brushes with the snowbanks kept Creighton in a lonely but safe third heading into the final four stages of Sunday.

With a comfortable gap to those behind him, Creighton simply had to keep his Fiesta Rally3 in the centre of the road to secure his first Junior WRC rostrum position; and he duly delivered.

“We certainly would have taken third if you offered it to me last week. It’s been such a tough start to the season and Sweden has such little margin for error, you’ll be putting it all on the line if you’re not careful. We know that the points are critical in the Junior WRC so once we found a comfortable position we were happy to keep it. It’s a long season and now we move onto rallies that we are more familiar with, I`m feeling really confident for the remaining rounds”.

Zagreb hosts the second round of the season at the end of April with the undulating asphalt roads of the Croatia Rally.

You can follow William’s progress throughout his career by following him on his social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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