Before we take the next step this season as we head into our first ERC event at Rally Azores, I wanted to do a final reflection on Alex and I's first foray into the Junior World Rally Championship! Holy smokes what a crazy, intense, and challenging rally this was. While we had absolutely perfect conditions for the recce, bullet-proof ice and -8°C temperatures for all the stages, they sadly didn’t hold and the weather warmed up significantly which made for super difficult, constantly changing, and at times ridiculously unpredictable grip conditions throughout the rally. Given that this was just my 4th loose surface rally, and my first event on snow/ice, there was a ton to learn and adapt to, and the tricky conditions made this process even more difficult for me.
Given all this, we simply didn't have the pace we had hoped for in this rally, but setting that aside, I’m actually really happy with my general consistency from stage to stage, and how Alex and I kept out of trouble and persevered to secure a top-5 finish in just our first JWRC event! This was an awesome result, and something that we certainly hadn't expected!
Every rally has high-points and low points, and this rally was no exception. The low point of the rally was being just a tire-width off-line for the turn in for a medium-speed right hander and having absolutely no grip, and ultimately getting stuck in a snowbank for several minutes. This was super frustrating, but it was also a great experience to have around 20 dedicated Swedish fans push, shovel, and pull us out of the snow to get us going again!
The high point though was undeniably getting the chance to sail over Colin’s Crest! What Alex and I might have lacked in outright pace this rally, we made up for in commitment on our first pass over this legendary jump. We got confirmation this week that we flew the furthest of all the FIA Junior WRC competitors, sending it 33m! So. Much. Fun. I’m simply loving this sport!
Thanks again to M-Sport Poland for putting an awesome new Fiesta R2T together, and for the great service all weekend! Anyway, that’s the end of our content from Sweden, and now we’re looking forward to our first ERC rally of the season at Rally Azores next weekend! Be sure to follow along on instagram and twitter (both @seanjracing) for daily updates from the upcoming rallies, and check back here in April for the post-event debriefs. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend wherever you are!