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McErlean announces 2024 WRC2 programme with Toksport World Rally Team

  • Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver Josh McErlean returns to the World Rally Championship in 2024

  • Irishman embarks on a seven-round WRC2 campaign with co-driver James Fulton

  • McErlean will drive a Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 with Toksport World Rally Team

  • WRC Vodafone Rally de Portugal will kick off the season in early May

Josh McErlean will return to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2024, behind the wheel of a Toksport Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 for a seven-round programme in the fiercely contested WRC2 category.

Watch Josh chat about it below

The 24-year-old ace will start his third season in the coveted World Rally Championship, but following three years with the Hyundai brand, he will switch to Skoda, run by reigning WRC2 champions Toksport WRT.

Joined by James Fulton for his reinvigorated campaign, McErlean will begin his season at the WRC Vodafone Rally de Portugal in early May.

“I`m super excited that not only will I be back in the WRC in 2024, but I`ll be joining Toksport in a Skoda Fabia RS Rally2” says McErlean.

“This has given me a new level of energy and fresh motivation, which in turn brings a wealth of optimism to both me and the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy team.”

The 2019 Billy Coleman Award winner has enjoyed an impressive rise towards the top echelons of the sport with McErlean achieving success at every level he has contested. Championship titles and overall rally podiums have been complemented by impressive results at European and World levels as the young charger continues to build experience at the top level of the sport.

Now McErlean embarks on the new year with a new squad which has been the culmination of a huge amount of hard work behind the scenes over the winter to ensure he has the best possible opportunity to fight in the mix of the principal support category of the World Rally Championship, and McErlean is understandably delighted at the prospect of the forthcoming season.

“The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy along with everyone around me have put in a lot of effort behind the scenes to put this program together” he continues.

“This is a huge step for us, and we have the right people and processes in place to maximise this opportunity. Having James [Fulton] alongside for the season means I can tap into his knowledge and experience which will be highly beneficial as we settle into our new surroundings.

“Toksport WRT and Skoda Motorsport have enjoyed one of the most successful collaborations in the WRC, winning the WRC2 Driver’s Championship for the last three years, which gives me great confidence that we can draw from their expertise.

“To be part of a team with three former Rally1 crews is also a real advantage; their combined experience taken together with that of the winning engineers and technicians within the team, will allow us to take the next step in terms of performance and consistency.”

As part of his reward for winning the Junior British Rally Championship in 2019, McErlean secured a prize drive on Wales Rally GB in a Hyundai i20 and has driven the brand’s Rally2 machinery ever since and switches to another marque in Skoda for the first time in almost forty events.

“It has been a remarkable journey with Hyundai over the years and I would like to thank Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing and PCRS Rallysport for their commitment and support over the past three seasons. We have had an incredible voyage of discovery and development together. Motorsport is a small world; I am sure our paths will cross again soon.”

McErlean is now focused on maximising the opportunity that lies ahead as his season gets underway on the gravel tracks of Portugal in just a few months.

“I really want to enjoy this season and continue to learn and improve, as I have done over the last few years. We made strong progress in 2023 and I need to put that cumulative learning to work this year and look towards fighting at the front of the WRC2 category. With a substantial pre-season test programme to get to know the car and the team, we will be fully prepared both physically and mentally for the season kick-off at WRC Portugal. I`m extremely excited indeed for the season ahead.”

“We are delighted to welcome Josh and James to the Toksport World Rally Team, where we believe, we can help to further develop the exceptional talent that Josh has already demonstrated in his career to date,” said Serkan Duru, Team Principal, Toksport WRT.

John Coyne, Patron of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, commenting on this exciting 2024 WRC2 programme, said: “I am delighted that Josh’s progress over the last few years, with the support and guidance of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, has earned him this opportunity to join the proven winning team of Toksport WRT. This is an extremely strong platform on which to build for the future. I look forward to seeing him continue his upward trajectory as he further develops the skills, speed, and consistency necessary to achieve success in the ultra-competitive WRC2 championship.”

Text by Matt Cotton // Image credit Red Bull Content Pool



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