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MI Rally Academy’s Creighton closes in on FIA Junior World Rally Championship

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver William Creighton will head for the final round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship, EKO Acropolis Rally Greece, [7-10 September] next weekend as series leader and just a solid result away from claiming the coveted title.

Creighton, 25 from Moira, enjoys a 29-point lead over his nearest rival, but with double points available over the weekend, being assured of the title is far from a foregone conclusion. But a solid haul of points on one of the toughest events in the Junior WRC calendar will see Creighton and co-driver Liam Regan receive a career-boosting prize package which includes four fully-funded WRC2 drives in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 for 2024, a pre-event test before each rally and 200 Pirelli tyres. And the Irishman is well aware of the task in-hand.

“Going to the event as championship leaders shows just how strong our season has been and also shows just how much work everyone has been putting in all year, so that’s a big positive,” says Creighton.

“Of course, being out front was obviously the best we could have hoped for at this stage but as we know, Greece is a very unpredictable rally and the competition around us is very impressive indeed. The Acropolis is super rough and very hard on the car and then when you add in the heat, it will be really tough on both the car and crew. We will need to factor that into our approach and manage our weekend, ensuring we only push at the times where it’s needed.”

Creighton has been a shining light in the Junior WRC this season, his third attempt at the championship, taking wins in Sweden and Sardinia. He has also accumulated an impressive 34 stage wins and the associated bonus points across the four rounds so far, which have undoubtedly given him the leeway in the points heading into the decider.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing either, with the young charger being forced to use Super Rally in Croatia and Estonia. But his undeniable pace has kept him in the title fight, although this time around, it may not be all about being the fastest, all of the time.

“We will be working really hard on our strategy before the rally and adapt our pace and outlook depending on the conditions and how our competitors are doing, what’s going on around us and obviously trying to stay out of trouble which is going to be hugely important” he says.

Creighton has also had time to reflect on his season so far, citing it as one of the best progressions across a season in his short career.

“I’m encouraged by the pace we have shown this season and if you look at events like Estonia, we were up against the locals as well as Junior WRC guys so to go there and be consistently fastest against them in their backyard was very encouraging. That was made more special by the fact that actually, I wasn’t that quick there previously; that kind of event with the crest jumps and wide roads wasn’t something that came naturally to me so our pace this time showed how strongly we had developed over the course of the season.”

But now it all comes down to the final round and 15 stages and around 300 kilometres of competitive driving stand in the way of Creghton’s maiden World title.

“We have had to work hard this year and it hasn’t always been easy, but the support from Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy has been second to none. Preparation for this one of course has been very focused and we have been working a lot with on-boards to ensure that we have not left any stone unturned and coupled with some testing in my own car, we are ready for the challenge ahead. We will try to enjoy the event, although that will be difficult at times but it’s not often in your career that you get to go to a rally in the fight for the Junior WRC title.”

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