Creighton excited by a return to the Ypres Rally
Moira rally driver William Creighton will head to next weekend’s Renties Ypres Rally Belgium (13-15 August) with the advantage of being the only event in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship calendar that he has tackled before.
The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver has previously contested the specialist asphalt event as part of the Junior British Rally Championship tour, taking a podium spot in both 2017 and 2019. Now, he returns to the daunting Flanders closed-road event in the Junior WRC and feels this could be his opportunity to progress his pace against his rivals in the series.
“The Ypres Rally is the only event in the calendar that I`ve had the benefit of contesting previously so of course that gives me a confidence boost heading into the weekend,” says Creighton.
“Having that knowledge of what to expect certainly helps to hit the ground running but it goes without saying that this is probably my best chance for a good result this season. Having said that, the pace of the guys out front is pretty special, so we do need to manage those expectations before getting caught up in pushing for a top result”.
Creighton and co-driver Liam Regan have always cited this season as an “experience building” year in the Junior WRC and have been eager to balance speed with their goal of bringing their M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally4 to the finish of every round. With just five points-scoring opportunities this year, every outing is a valuable one and the duo have so far ensured they are on track to achieve their aims.
The season opened in Croatia and Creighton showed flashes of brilliance on the tough closed road stages, second fastest time over the Wolf Power Stage a particular highlight on his way to fifth spot on his Junior WRC debut, despite a handful of technical glitches during the weekend.
Portugal once again offered an insight into his true pace and was an impressive second overall on an opening day. However, gearbox dramas saw him fall to fifth and at the third round of the series in Estonia, Creighton took sixth after grappling with the ultra-fast, rutted and undulating gravel roads.
In contrast, the Ypres Rally offers almost 300 kilometres of some of Belgium’s finest asphalt stages which have long been the go-to place for European tar experts to prove their worth. Despite having never been a round of the WRC before, the penultimate round of the Junior WRC is likely to be as competitive as the other rounds this season.
“If it’s wet out there it will be extremely tricky” he explains.
“The ditches are infamous across the world for being really unforgiving and when you add to that the front-running cars taking big cuts, it can mean that many corners become a lottery. You need to commit to the fast stuff, but precision is key, if you move offline and don’t get caught out you have been lucky. It’s an amazingly technical rally but the atmosphere will be superb. I’ve been looking forward to this one all year long so now it is about knuckling down and getting on with the job in hand.”
You can follow his progress throughout his Junior World Rally Championship campaign this season by following him on his social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.