Tuesday | 17 Jan 2023

Pellier’s Junior WRC step-up “a complete dream”

Prize-drive-winning FIA Junior ERC champion Laurent Pellier moved a step closer to embarking on a Junior WRC bid last week after the initial list of registered drivers for 2023 was revealed.

Pellier’s reward for winning the FIA Junior ERC title in 2022 is a chance to go for JWRC glory this season armed with a Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta Rally3 run by M-Sport Poland.

The 27-year-old only has two World Rally Championship starts to his name, but his 2023 prize drive will allow him to expand his experience and demonstrate his ability at an even higher level.

“It’s a complete dream to take part in the JWRC for sure,” said Pellier, who won the Junior ERC title driving an Opel Corsa Rally4 for ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team. “It’s amazing and I’m inpatient for these big events because I will discover many things.”

Pellier’s Junior WRC opportunity is the continuation of a highly cost-effective rise up the rallying ranks for one of his country’s best young drivers. His prize for winning the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup in 2021 was a Junior ERC campaign last year. And by claiming that title, Pellier is now preparing for a second consecutive funded programme, this time in a four-wheel-drive car.

“Junior ERC is a very good platform and I completely agree with what Chris Ingram said recently about the opportunities it gives you,” said the Frenchman. “I’ve had two opportunities in the ERC, one year with Peugeot Sport four years ago [for winning the Volant Peugeot one-make series] and last year with Opel Motorsport.”

He continued: “All the ERC races are very beautiful and each country has its own specific type of rally and you learn a lot because of this. Also, there are different cars and some cars are better on one surface or one kind of race. There are also specialist drivers from each country to fight with you so you are always in fights with everybody. For me it’s a good way to learn at a good cost.”

Of Pellier’s JWRC prize drive, ERC Manager Iain Campbell said: “As well as being a very worthy Junior ERC champion, Laurent Pellier is a very worthy recipient of this fantastic prize-drive opportunity in the Junior WRC. While the ERC is very much a career target, it’s also the established platform of progression for drivers stepping up from national competitions with the firm aim of competing at the very top of the World Rally Championship one day. Laurent has that opportunity to take his first real steps in the WRC thanks to this great prize and we can’t wait to follow his progress at a higher level when he will also showcase the highly competitive nature of Junior ERC, while gaining more experience of four-wheel drive.”