Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver William Creighton endured a tough weekend behind the wheel as he tackled the third round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship, Rally Estonia (15-18 July).
Creighton and co-driver Liam Regan continued to build experience of world-level events, tackling the grueling and super-fast roads of Estonia to record their third solid finish in the hotly contested Junior WRC category. Keeping his M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally4 largely out of trouble throughout the 314-kilometre rally, Creighton was eager to take the positives away from the weekend’s performance.
“I’m really pleased with another finish on the board this season and happy that we stuck to the plan to simply get the experience of the event, terrain and what we could expect in the future,” said Creighton.
“As we said a few weeks ago, I believe that you needed to take quite a few risks to be on the pace of the front runners and Estonia was a rally that we knew could bite back harder than most. It was one that we signaled out to be a potential season-breaker so had decided to really do our own thing and enjoy it for what it was. Even though we were not on the lead pace, it was such a tough rally and I`m glad we took the approach we did”.
Grappling with the rough and rutted conditions, the 23-year-old from Moira in Co. Down was pleased to reach the end of the event after a difficult outing the week previously in Wales.
Tackling the second round of the Junior British Rally Championship in his own Fiesta Rally4, Creighton had been battling for his second series win of the season to add to round one victory at Oulton Park when he slipped off the road on the penultimate test and became stuck.
Despite the non-finish in Wales, Creighton was pleased with his BRC performance which enabled him to hit the ground running in Estonia.
“The calendar fell perfectly for us, and it was great to be fighting at the front of the Junior BRC once again. It was a small error that just meant we got the Fiesta beached and with no spectators around to assist, we couldn’t get it back on the road”. It was just one of those things. But the pace was there, and it meant I could start Estonia with a fresh approach but with the benefit of seat time”.
The focus now turns to the penultimate round of the Junior WRC as the series heads to Belgium for the Ypres Rally. Whilst the event has not been on the World Rally Championship calendar previously, Creighton is feeling much more confident about the upcoming encounter.
“I’ve finished on the Junior BRC podium twice in Ypres so the experience from that will certainly be advantageous” he explains.
“It’s the only event in the Junior WRC I`ve done before so my approach will be slightly different to that of the rest of the season. I don’t want to make too many predictions of course; this year is still about experience and learning but I`d like to think we can let ourselves off the leash a little and see what we can do.”
In the Junior WRC, the Ypres Rally forms the next round before the final championship encounter at Rally Spain in October. However, Creighton will also aim to keep his British Rally Championship hopes alive with Trackrod Rally Yorkshire and the Mull Rally filling in the gaps on his competitive calendar.