After the WRC’s former promoter North One Sport went into administration, the WRC Academy support series had been thrown into a state of uncertainty. However, thanks to an agreement between the FIA and M-Sport, the single-make junior class will return for a 6 round championship at Rally Portugal in March.
M-Sport will be supplying and running the same Ford Fiesta R2s that were used in last year’s championship, which was won by current SWRC driver Craig Breen, who is funding his drive with the â‚¬500,000 he recieved as a prize for his title. This year the prize is slightly different, with either a full WRC season in a Fiesta R2 or five rounds of the championship at the wheel of the faster Fiesta S2000 on offer.
“The 2011 WRC Academy Cup was a great success and provided incredibly close competition through to the final stage,” said Michele Mouton, the FIA’s WRC manager. “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with M-Sport, ensuring once again that this arrive and drive formula continues at a set and affordable price for young competitors wishing to enter our sport. We have great confidence in Malcolm Wilson and his team to deliver yet another exciting series that is at the heart of nurturing future talent.”
The six round calendar will also see the young drivers visiting the rough gravel of the Acropolis in May, the fast and flowing stages of Finalnd in August, followed by the first of three asphalt events in Germany at the end of the same month. Rallye de France Alsace and Rally Catalunya in October and November complete the calendar, and drivers will drop one result from their six event campaign towards their championship standing.