May 17, 2021
Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy member William Creighton will head to the second round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship this week, aiming secure another valuable point-scoring finish at Vodafone Rally de Portugal (20-23 May).
The 23-year-old from Moira in Co. Down returned a confidence-boosting fifth place at the opening round of the ultra-competitive series in Croatia last month, kicking off his maiden World Championship campaign with a positive result at the tricky asphalt event.
Now, Creighton and co-driver Liam Regan will head for Portugal as the series makes the switch to gravel and one of the roughest and unforgiving events in the five-round Junior WRC calendar.
“I’ve been doing a lot of pre-event preparation for this rally and I know this is going to be a very unpredictable weekend,” says Creighton.
“It’s a very rough event and by the time the World Rally cars have passed through the stages, it will be tougher still for our M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally4’s. I haven’t experienced any European gravel before so this will be my first time tackling a rally of this nature and whilst the surface is very different, I don’t see our approach being too dissimilar from Croatia”.
Creighton’s Junior WRC debut in Zagreb was not all plain sailing, with time-zapping issues hampering any inroads on the leader board but the experience was vital for the young ace and his final day pace highlighted the potential.
“It’s another marathon event and just like Croatia, we will see what our pace is like and where we are on the leader board after day one and that will set the tone for day two and so on. The focus will be on protecting the car as it will be brutal running where we do on the road. But it’s the same for all Junior WRC crews so we will certainly be choosing when to pick our battles this week.”
Over 337 kilometres of special stage action lies ahead and despite being his debut on gravel in Europe, Creighton is buoyed by his round one experience.
“I feel much more comfortable heading to Portugal as now I have an idea of what to expect from WRC rounds, how to get the most from the team and clearly how to get the most from myself as a driver. The confidence is there, and I realise that finishing these events, especially when there are only five rounds, is vital.”
“We will be choosing which stages to show our pace on whilst managing the car throughout each day and go from there.”
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