The 2016 FIA Junior World Rally Championship could be decided at the Tour de Corse – Rally de France, with Simone Tempestini looking the likely victor who will be set to win a six-race programme in the 2017 WRC2 championship behind the wheel of a Citroën DS3 R5.
Tempestini has taken three victories from the first four rounds of the championship and could wrap up the title in the upcoming rally. The young Italian will be up against some tough competition as the local French drivers come out in force.
To secure the championship title, Tempestini has to finish in at least second place, this means he will win no matter what his rivals achieve.
“I took part in the Tour de Corse last year and I enjoyed it. I’d even go so far as to say it’s one of my favourite rallies,” revealed Tempestini. “I don’t feel particularly under pressure and I’m very keen to put in a good performance. The target is to win.”
Ole-Christian Veiby could potentially challenge for the title following his victory in Finland, this will be a lot to ask for as Veiby will have to take victory and his Italian rival finish third or lower. Anything can happen though as the young Norwegian knows all too well. Last time out in Germany he slid off the road twice and finished down in seventh place.
Other contenders for the title include Terry Folb and Vincent Dubert, while the pair are in with a mathematical chance of the championship they would need Tempestini and Veiby to have a lot of issues in the remaining rallies.
The ever improving Folb was fast in Corsica last year and secured second position in the JWRC class, add to this his stage victories in Germany and he is in with a very real chance of reaching the top step this time out.
For Dubert it could be more of a challenge, the Frenchman seems to be more at home on gravel but will still be pushing hard for a podium finish along with countryman Romain Martel, who already has experience of the Corsica roads after competing in a four-wheel drive car last year.
Joining the regular competitors will be some of the rising stars of French rallying with the FFSA French team being represented by Yohan Rossel and Laurent Pellier. Rossel, who won the Junior French Rally Racing Trophy in a DS3 R1 and Pellier currently occupy the top two positions of the French Citroën Racing Trophy.
William Wagner will once again be joining the JWRC field for the second time after finishing fifth place at the 2015 Wales Rally GB.
Mohamed Al Mutawaa will hope his circuit racing experience will help him out on the tight and twisty roads of Corsica as he is joined by the experienced co-driver Stuart Loudon. JWRC regular Martin Koci will also be challenging as he chases victory for the first time since 2014.
LIST OF FIA JUNIOR WRC ENTRIES
61. Simone Tempestini – Giovanni Bernacchini
62. Ole Christian Veiby – Stig Skjaermonen
63. Martin Koci – Lukas Kostka
64. Terry Folb – Franck Le Floch
65. Vincent Dubert – Alexandre Coria
66. Romain Martel – Vanessa Lemoine
71. Mohamed Al Mutawaa – Stuart Loudon
72. Yohan Rossel – Benoît Fulcrand
73. Laurent Pellier – Benoit Neyret-Gigot
74. William Wagner – Antoine Paque
FIA JUNIOR WRC DRIVER STANDINGS
Simone Tempestini 93 pts
Ole Christian Veiby 56 pts
Terry Folb 48 pts
Vincent Dubert 44 pts
Martin Koci 42 pts
Romain Martel 40 pts
Mohamed Al Mutawaa 26 pts