For young rally drivers hoping to reach the top of their sport by one day scooping the overall World Rally Championship (WRC) title, the odds look tough. Only two drivers have achieved that status in the past 15 years: nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb and six-time world champion Sébastien Ogier.
But, on the positive side, both French drivers share another piece of history: they both won the Junior World Rally Championship title on their way to the top. And, in total, more than half of the current factory drivers in the top-tier WRC got where they are today by first blazing a path via the Junior WRC, which is open to drivers aged under 30.
It’s an opportunity to gain valuable experience of the big time, particularly as they race on the same special stages as their senior WRC counterparts – so they face the same challenges, too. If you want to keep an eye on who might succeed Ogier, Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak in years to come, watch the junior championship carefully, which is backed once more by Pirelli.