M-Sport announced their initial plans for the 2018 FIA Junior World Rally Championship which is set to challenge the latest crop of candidates on every surface that the FIA World Rally Championship has to offer.
The format remains the same as in previous years. The championship will be on an arrive-and-drive format. M-Sport in Krakow will supply identical one-litre Ecoboost Ford Fiesta R2s.
Five events have been selected on snow, gravel and asphalt. That provides a true test of the drivers’ ability on all terrain.
They are Rally Sweden, Tour de Corse, Rally de Portugal, Rally Finland, Rally of Turkey
For the first time since 2006, the season kick-starts on the snow-covered stages of Rally Sweden before venturing to the sealed-surface endurance tests of the Tour de Corse.
Three gravel rallies then follow at Rally de Portugal, Rally Finland and double points for the final round at the Rally of Turkey which is returning to the championship for the first time since 2010.
Featuring some the season’s most iconic rallies, the calendar also provides a better spread of events to simplify logistics for the potential competitors.
Once again, there will be points for every fastest stage time. The aim is an encouragement of the competitors throughout each rally. That formula has traditionally resulted in a nail-biting fight to the finish.
Maciej Woda said:
“We’ve worked really hard on our one-make series over the years. And we believe that we have established a successful and competitive format alongside the FIA. Next year, we want to take it a step further to introduce more diversity. That is something the introduction of all three surfaces allows.”
“By making the final round a doubleheader, it also encourages the drivers to push to the very last kilometre – as we have seen in recent seasons. And the eventual winner will have shown consistent speed on every surface.”
“There’s no denying that the Junior World Rally Championship produces drivers that go on to compete at the very highest level. You just have to look at names like [Sebastien] Loeb, [Sebastien] Ogier, [Dani] Sordo, [Craig] Breen, [Elfyn] Evans and [Pontus] Tidemand to know that this formula has produced drivers of the very highest calibre. And we’re hoping to find another one in 2018.”
Next week, @RallyRACC will decide the 2017 @JuniorWRC Champion will it be @NilSolans or @NCiamin ?? https://t.co/j1EKYYZvvX pic.twitter.com/HytA8eiWaT
— Junior WRC (@JuniorWRC) September 29, 2017
The championship was first held in 2001 as the FIA Super 1600 Drivers’ Championship. Then there were six events in Europe. Sébastien Loeb became the series’ first champion, driving a Super 1600-class Citroën Saxo. The series became the Junior World Rally Championship the following year.