PREVIEW: 2019 Junior WRC – Sweden The First Stop in a New Era for The Junior WRC

by Steven Batey

The 2019 FIA Junior World Rally Championship gets underway this weekend as part of Rally Sweden with 13 drivers competing in brand new Ford Fiesta R2’s.

The new for 2019 cars, based on the Mk8 Ford Fiesta, are developed by M-Sport in Poland and are powered by 200 horsepower EcoBoost engines with inspiration taken from Sébastien Ogier’s title winning Fiesta WRC from last season’s World Rally Championship.

An incredible prize fund has also been offered with the winner of the 2019 championship being awarded a brand-new Ford Fiesta R5 and a paid entry into the 2020 WRC2 season. Tyre supplier Pirelli will also provide 200 tyres to use as part of the deal also.

As well as a new car, the Junior WRC have also announced a new technical partnership with Wolf Lubricants that will see the company’s range of products being used in every car in the championship.

The new for 2019 Ford Fiesta R2. Photo Credit: M-Sport

Five of the 13 drivers are returning names to the Junior WRC, with 2018 runner-up Dennis Rådström arguably headlining the entry list. He won two rounds last year including in Sweden and has to be the favourite for the opening round win in 2019.

He won’t however have everything his own way over the course of the five-round season as drivers including European Rally Under 27 graduates Tom Kristensson and Martin Sesks and series returnees Ken Torn, Julius Tannert, Enrico Oldrati and British driver Tom Williams are all entered for 2019.

New faces Roland Poom, Fabrizio Zaldivar, Raul Badiu, Nico Knacker and brother of former JWRC champion Nil, Jan Solans also join the entry list in the one-make championship with the final place being filled by former sportscar driver Sean Johnston.

After the opening round this weekend, the championship then heads to the Tour de Corse in France at the end of March, before Rally Italia Sardegna in mid-June with Rally Finland hosting the penultimate round of the season at the beginning of August with round five being on Wales Rally GB in October.

The 2019 Junior WRC gets underway tonight and continues this weekend as part of Rally Sweden.

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