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world rally championship

Sardinia proves challenging for Creighton

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver William Creighton endured a difficult Rally Italia Sardegna last weekend [30 May – 2 June] but recovered to set encouraging times as he continues his World Rally Championship WRC2 campaign.

Just one week after securing second overall at the Jim Clark Rally as part of his Probite British Rally Championship programme, Creighton and co-driver Liam Regan would swap the fast and flowing moorland roads of Scotland for the rocky and technical gravel of the Italian island of Sardinia in their M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2.

Having been victorious in the event in 2023 on his way to the FIA Junior World Rally Championship title, the Irishman is well-versed in what is required to ensure a good result. Battling against deep sandy ruts, bedrock, and poor road conditions, often conservation would be the key to success and with 2024 offering a new format with little service opportunity, it would be a balancing act throughout the weekend to finish each leg unscathed.

And it was an exceptional start, going sixth fastest WRC2 crew over the opening stage, settling into a rhythm over the first loop, all the time conscious that four arduous stages would need to be completed before the Fiesta would be tended to by the M-Sport team. A confident run over Friday saw Creighton end the day 12th in WRC2 and 10th in the WRC2 Challenger category.

“I was happy with our game plan today and how we stuck to it, we showed encouraging pace to start the rally and settled into a nice rhythm whilst managing the second loop of stages to bring the car back to the overnight service with no major issues,” said Creighton heading into the overnight halt.

Saturday promised to be tougher still with eight tests and no service. It wasn’t long before the gruelling event took its toll, with technical issues forcing Creighton out on the second stage of the day and into retirement. That left Sunday’s four-stage sprint remaining, and with nothing to be gained in terms of chasing a top result, Creighton would elect to use the remaining day to gain further understanding of the Rally2 on the unique surface.

Building confidence with each test, he set the third fastest WRC2 time over the penultimate stage, underlining his continued progression and in doing so, securing another important finish on his maiden WRC2 campaign.

“While on paper it's not the result we wanted to take away from the weekend, I`m very encouraged by the pace we have shown and the improvements we have made since Portugal,” said Creighton.

“Sadly, just a small issue kept us from converting that into a good result. But there are plenty of positives to take from the start of our WRC2 journey. We have had a strong showing on sections of each event which is a sign that we are heading in the right direction, and that’s a testament to the hard work Liam and I, the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy and M-Sport have put in over the past few months.”

It has been a busy calendar for Creighton, with the BRC and WRC rounds all taking place in close proximity. Whilst that’s been an advantage for seat time, he now has a few weeks’ break before heading to the next event on his schedule.

“It's been a very busy few months which has provided a fantastic opportunity to gain seat time in the M-Sport Fiesta, but it's good that we now have a few weeks to re-set and head to the next rally with a reinvigorated plan" he continues.

"The next WRC2 outing is in Latvia and whilst the high-speed nature of those stages is not what I would say is my strong suit, the confidence we have gained from our JWRC experiences in these types of rallies will put us in a good place heading into it. It's great to be leading the BRC too and we won't be out in that until August, so we have a good period before then to prepare and try for another strong result.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported Liam and me on our journey so far this year and we are very excited to see what the second half of the season holds."

External Credits:

William Creighton Media


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