William Creighton is on the verge of claiming the FIA Junior WRC championship crown with the misfortune of his rivals working in the Irishman’s favour on Saturday at EKO Acropolis Rally Greece.
Paraguayan Diego Dominguez will take a commanding 3min 12.1sec lead going into Sunday’s three remaining stages in the all-Ford Fiesta Rally3 category, but with championship leader Creighton only needing to nurse his current sixth position, the 25-year-old set to become the first Irishman to win the Junior WRC since Craig Breen in 2011.
Restarting on Saturday morning in a distant eighth place after retiring early on Friday with radiator damage, championship leader Creighton’s Saturday target was Wolf stage win points and awaiting to see if his rivals could navigate the classically demanding Greek conditions mistake-free.
Tied on time in first place with Dominguez at the start of Saturday, Frenchman Laurent Pellier’s morning got off to the worst possible start, already retiring following the opening challenge with a transmission issue, leaving Dominguez with a 1min 19.9sec lead and allowing Creighton to move one further position up the standings.
Dominguez was not without his own issues, battling power steering troubles – and ultimately fatigue – through the first two stages, allowing Creighton to grab two valuable stage wins.
There was some reprieve for Dominguez – and despair for Creighton – when the final stage of the morning loop was cancelled. A reinvigorated Dominguez subsequently pounced, taking the first stage win on the afternoon loop, only for Creighton to snatch a point back on the very next stage.
But with news coming through that Kenya’s Hamza Anwar had rolled and subsequently retired on SS11, Creighton was into sixth and could take a more cautious approach to the day’s final test, knowing that combined with his stage wins, a sixth-placed finish will provisionally be enough to hand him the title.