Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver William Creighton fought his way back from fourth place on the opening day of Rally Italia Sardegna, to secure the second FIA Junior World Rally Championship victory of his career last weekend [1-4 June].
Creighton, 25 from Moira in Co.Armagh battled with monsoon weather and multiple punctures during the weekend, to add to his Rally Sweden victory and bolster his lead in the Junior WRC standings.
Unseasonable weather on the popular Italian island of Sardinia added to the already tricky event, with rough sandy gravel tracks providing the ultimate test of both car and crew during the weekend.
After winning the opening Super Special on Thursday evening, Creighton and co-driver Liam Regan suffered a double puncture on one stage the following day but would still emerge in the lead of the Junior contenders.
Saturday would provide a rollercoaster for the Fiesta Rally3 crews and like many of the rapid youngsters, Creighton would once again suffer a puncture turning his 55-second lead into a 29-second deficit during the second loop. But fortunes would turn on the very next test, resuming the lead as his rivals faltered and from then on, Creighton was in command, spraying the champagne and taking his second win of 2023.
“It has been such a hard-fought victory; I really feel like I’ve earned that one,” said an elated Creighton.
“We certainly had to be smart in our approach to the weekend, but we got unlucky with the punctures and like many others, it really shaped our rally. It was important not to give up and keep pushing when we felt comfortable, but we knew it was always going to be one of those events where a tactical drive would be a better proposition than all-out pace”.
“I’m so happy to bring home the win and it’s a real testament to the work we have put in behind the scenes, the support of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy and Liam’s hard work and resilience to get us through”.
Thanks to his tally of Wolf Stage Win Points, Creighton now leads by an impressive 32 points but with attentions now turning to the next round, he isn’t planning on backing off and is well aware that the championship is far from a done deal and there is plenty of work if he is to lift the impressive prize drive package from M-Sport.
“In a championship like the Junior WRC, nothing is for certain and the guys around us are pushing as hard as they can like we are” he continues.
“Dropping out of the lead of the championship is just a puncture or non-finish away so we can’t be complacent when it comes to fighting for the title. We must keep progressing of course, that’s why we are here. We can’t rest or relax at this level of the sport, but I`m confident we have everything we need to push for a positive end to the season”.