Munster ends strong first Rally2 season as ERC1 Junior vice-champion
Grégoire Munster might have missed out on the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship but he still completed his maiden season at Rally2 level with plenty of reason to be satisfied.
The 21-year-old moved into ERC1 Junior title contention with a late-season victory double and started the Rally Islas Canarias season finale six points ahead of Oliver Solberg in the fight for the coveted crown and the accompanying €100,000 career-progression grant.
However, a puncture on stage one combined with his decision to fit dry-weather tyres to his Hyundai i20 R5 for the ultimately rain-hit opening four stages left him more than four minutes down on the leaders and with his hopes of championship success in tatters.
But he didn’t give up and set the pace in ERC1 Junior on three out of the closing four stages and completed the challenging Tarmac event sixth in class with a total of five fastest stage times in his division.
“This was not the result we had hoped for at the start,” said Munster, who is co-driven by Louis Louka. “Friday was an extremely difficult day resulting in a fair amount of time lost. But at no given moment did we give up, but took it stage by stage with a fair number of good times during the final day as the outcome.
“That final loop was fabulous with three best times in ERC1 Junior. Once more we have shown our speed. It’s only a great pity that this time around it wasn’t enough. However, had you told me at the beginning of the season that we would become European vice-champion in ERC1 Junior and finish third in the final ERC rankings I would immediately have signed up for that. Although I must admit that it does hurt a bit to just miss out on the title. The small gap with Solberg makes up for a lot and says everything about our season.”
Munster, part of the Hyundai Junior Driver programme, will prove his talent on the world stage this week when he contests ACI Rally Monza.