Fiesta Rally3 Evo makes WRC debut with Junior WRC Rally d’Italia Sardinia

Fiesta Rally3 Evo makes WRC debut with Junior WRC Rally d’Italia Sardinia

The 2023 FIA Junior WRC Championship takes to the rough and tough roads of Rally d’Italia Sardegna for round three, marking the first gravel rally of the 2023 tour.

M-Sport Poland’s Fiesta Rally3 Evo will make its WRC debut in Sardinia, with every Junior WRC crew taking delivery of a brand-new Fiesta Rally3 Evo on this event. The Fiesta Rally3 has received a comprehensive update package including a new-look front bumper which provides a larger aperture for cooling, a new rear wing and new gravel damper specifications.

Sardinia has a long and storied past with Junior WRC, making its first appearance on the feeder series’ calendar in 2005 with Dani Sordo taking his maiden Junior WRC victory.

Junior WRC is returning to the rough gravel classic for the event’s 20th edition and what promises to be an action-packed weekend filled with drama.

Sardinia usually sees high ambient temperatures which make for oven-like temperatures for each crew to contend with inside the car. Heat exhaustion will be a developing adversary for them as each stage progresses making it difficult to stay focussed. This is a rally where focus is paramount too with dust and visibility being major factors for drivers to negotiate on each speed test. This challenge culminates on the 50km Monte Lerno stage this year which crews will have to make two passes of, totalling almost one third of the entire length of the rally!

The challenge of Rally Italia is further compounded by a continually developing surface as the soft and sandy top surface covers a very hard and immovable bedrock. It results in an unstable surface that is ravaged by more the more powerful cars ahead that dig up ruts and rocks. 

Maciej Woda, FIA Junior WRC Championship Manager, said: “I am very proud to see another step forward for Junior WRC and M-Sport Poland this weekend with the introduction of the Fiesta Rally3 Evo. It’s a result of close to two years of continuous improvement and development by the talented team back at M-Sport Poland’s headquarters in Krakow. I think bringing the updated cars to the Junior WRC field mid-season underlines our commitment to ensuring the very best Rally3 cars are available to all Junior WRC competitors.

“Sardinia always makes for very exciting rally action as it requires a good balance between knowing when to push and when to keep it clean with the ruts and rocks. The entertainment and drama come when drivers try and push their luck a little further, a higher gear here or later on the brakes there. Sometimes they can get away with it and sometimes, they can overdo it and the consequences on this kind of surface can mean the end of your weekend.”

#66 William Creighton / Liam Regan
“It's going to be a difficult weekend. A big challenge. The stages are going to be rough by the time we get there and it's going to be warm. So it's hard to know what to do. I think we're going to have to play it smart when we can and try to stay out of trouble. But that's easier said than done. So yeah, let's just try and have a good recce and see how it goes.”

#67 Laurent Pellier / Kevin Bronner
“For the first time during the season, we have done some kilometres of testing on gravel. We tried a lot of what historically is already good on this surface, I think. We tried some changes with the anti-roll bar and with the new damper, which works very well. We need to keep very strong points here and we need to drive, with our head. We will see because all the experienced guys know it will be a hard and difficult rally because of the rocks. It’s a big challenge ahead.”

#70 Tom Rensonnet / Loïc Dumont
“I'm very happy to be here, for me it’s a dream and it's going to be a tough rally because with the temperatures and the conditions, I have never driven on gravel before and I think I'm alone with that fact. It's my first appearance on the gravel so we need to stay on the on the roads and take experience and to improve step by step.”

#71 Roberto Blach / Mauro Barreiro 
“I think that this will be a very difficult rally with many difficult conditions especially with the heat. I think that it's similar to some of the Spanish gravel at home. For me it will be difficult because I have never driven with four-wheel drive on gravel so I will take it just step by step. A lot of things are going to happen in this rally, and I want to do a good job and learn a lot from this. If we can do a podium, it will be very nice.”

 #72 Eamonn Kelly / Conor Mohan
“I was able to do a pre-event test in a rally2 car, to be honest, it was just an opportunity that was presented to me, and I was very grateful to get it. We grabbed it both hands. And It’s a rough rally and it's as good as it gets ahead of Sardinia. We've done nothing in the Fiesta Rally3 on gravel, but you know, we've done some driving and that's the main thing. Obviously, it is going to take a little bit of time to adapt to the Rally3, but we've got a very long rally ahead of us to do that.”

#73 Raul Hernandez / Adrian Perez
“I am happy to be here in Sardinia, the stages are really, really hard but for me the important thing is to finish the rally.”

#74 Hamza Anwar / Adnan Din
“I believe this will be one of my strongest results, hopefully. I'm really looking forward to this one, it gives me the safari vibe! We will know after recce but, so far, so good. Looking forward to push a little this weekend.”

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