M-sport secures contract to run revamped Junior World Rally Championship in Fiestas
The Junior World Rally Championship will be run for Ford Fiesta R2s again next season, following a decision from last week’s World Motor Sport Council to award the tender to M-sport.
The Cumbrian firm ran JWRC as a single-make series for three years (two of which when it was called WRC Academy), before it switched to Citroen’s DS 3 R3 for the last three seasons.
M-sport’s Malcolm Wilson said he was delighted to have it back and confirmed it would be run in the same style as the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy.
“We’ll combine the two into one championship,” Wilson told MN, “so the Junior WRC will be more or less what Drive DMACK has been. This is fantastic news for M-sport – we have a real passion for developing young drivers and offering a ladder of progression through the sport, this is key to that.”
Most likely the DDFT formula of pairing the rallies will remain for next season. That means crews have the chance to win two drives in a Ford Fiesta R5 car by scoring the most points on a pair of events.
“We don’t see any major changes coming,” said Wilson, “we want this to remain the most cost-effective way into the WRC. What we will do is probably give the overall season champion another drive, to give them something a little bit more.”
The JWRC season will start in Portugal in May with the remainder of the calendar still to be decided.
Among the other decisions to come from WMSC was the confirmation of running order changes, with the series leader first on the road on day one before the priority crews are run in reversed classification order on Saturday and Sunday.
The 2017 WRC calendar was also rubber-stamped as Monte Carlo (Jan 20-22); Sweden (Feb 10-12); Mexico (Mar 10-12); Corsica (Apr 7-9); Argentina (Apr 28-30); Portugal (May 19-21); Italy (Jun 9-11); Poland (Jun 30-Jul 2); Finland (Jul 28-30); Germany (Aug 18-20); Spain (Oct 6-8); GB (Oct 27-29) and Australia (Nov 17-19).