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A lot has changed since I awkwardly pretended I hadn’t seen William Creighton and his mates in an Edinburgh Wetherspoons five years ago. Well, not so much for me. I’m still partial to a burger and a cheap pint.

But Creighton, four months my junior, has won the Junior British Rally Championship and progressed onto the world stage where he currently leads the Junior World Rally Championship.

And he’s no longer spending week nights in the pub.

Instead, every ounce of his being is poured into improving his performance – but on the face of it he can’t be chasing much as he’s won both the Swedish and Italian rounds of this year’s JWRC, and was leading in Croatia too before he went off the road.

It means that 60% through the season, Creighton’s name sits clear at the top of the championship. Surely he can’t really have asked for much more than that?

“I suppose it makes the Croatia mistake even more frustrating from my point-of-view, otherwise we could have had three wins! But that’s all ifs, buts and maybes,” Creighton told DirtFish.

“We made a small mistake in Croatia and were punished for it, but apart from that Liam [Regan, co-driver], me and the team have put in a good stint so far. The gap that we have reflects the huge effort that everybody’s putting in.”

Plenty had Creighton down as their championship favorite before the season had even begun given his superior WRC experience over his 2023 rivals.

He can definitely be considered the favorite now given his performances so far this year, but does Creighton accept – and agree – with that billing?

“People can say that and it’s a fair comment, especially with the lead that we have,” Creighton said, “but it’s far from over and we’ve still got a lot to do.

“The way this championship is structured with the double points in Greece and the stage win points… in Greece alone there’s 65 points available – we’re on 79 points, we’ve got to take a dropped score and the championship gap is only 27 points when you take dropped scores out so it’s far from over.

“Of course if we can get another win it’ll put us in an even better position, but having Greece at the end of the year with how unpredictable it can be and with the double points, anything can happen.”

This doesn’t feel like a case of a driver saying what needs to be said to the media either, Creighton genuinely believes what he’s saying. He isn’t going to allow complacency to get the better of him.

Things change in an instant in rallying, so no championship lead is ever secure until it is officially placed out of the reach of the rest.

We can all still talk about Creighton as a championship favorite though, because he’s ticking all the boxes. His victory on last weekend’s Rally Italy Sardinia demonstrated that he can not only win rallies by virtue of his right foot, but also his head.

“There’s one angle to the WRC where you can’t get left behind because the competition is so close that it quickly turns into a sprint over three days, but at the same time there is this element of these rallies being long and you have to be able to pace yourself and be smart at the same time – especially in Sardinia,” Creighton explained.

“I was happy with how Sardinia went. We came out of the first stage and we weren’t close to the quickest time, but it didn’t bother me.

“We stuck to our game plan. Sometimes it didn’t work and we had to be patient even when it wasn’t working, and it could very easily have not gone our way but it did, we were resilient and kept at it and we got there.

“But I’m looking forward to going to Estonia,” he added. “In Sardinia you had to be conservative whereas in Estonia you can send it and we can really commit which will be good fun!”

Score another top result in Estonia, and Creighton will really be in the championship hot seat.

Not that he was getting lured into that bait.

“We’ve just got to keep trying to get as many points as we can.”

“It’s as simple as that to be honest.”

But Creighton’s wrong, things do change.

“I don’t think I’ve been in a Wetherspoons since that day!” he laughed.

Words: Luke Barry Photography: Red Bull & M-Sport

William also commented further about his recent Sardinia success with second Junior WRC victory in the article below.

  • Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver William Creighton takes his second FIA Junior World Rally Championship win of the season at Rally Italia Sardegna

  • Moira driver battles through biblical-like weather and mid-event setbacks to secure victory

  • Creighton reinforces Junior WRC lead, but will not be able to relax in his bid for the coveted championship

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver William Creighton fought his way back from fourth place on the opening day of Rally Italia Sardegna, to secure the second FIA Junior World Rally Championship victory of his career last weekend [1-4 June].

Creighton, 25 from Moira in Co.Armagh battled with monsoon weather and multiple punctures during the weekend, to add to his Rally Sweden victory and bolster his lead in the Junior WRC standings.

Unseasonable weather on the popular Italian island of Sardinia added to the already tricky event, with rough sandy gravel tracks providing the ultimate test of both car and crew during the weekend.

After winning the opening Super Special on Thursday evening, Creighton and co-driver Liam Regan suffered a double puncture on one stage the following day but would still emerge in the lead of the Junior contenders.

Saturday would provide a rollercoaster for the Fiesta Rally3 crews and like many of the rapid youngsters, Creighton would once again suffer a puncture turning his 55-second lead into a 29-second deficit during the second loop. But fortunes would turn on the very next test, resuming the lead as his rivals faltered and from then on, Creighton was in command, spraying the champagne and taking his second win of 2023.

“It has been such a hard-fought victory; I really feel like I've earned that one,” said an elated Creighton.

“We certainly had to be smart in our approach to the weekend, but we got unlucky with the punctures and like many others, it really shaped our rally. It was important not to give up and keep pushing when we felt comfortable, but we knew it was always going to be one of those events where a tactical drive would be a better proposition than all-out pace”.

“I'm so happy to bring home the win and it’s a real testament to the work we have put in behind the scenes, the support of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy and Liam’s hard work and resilience to get us through”.

Thanks to his tally of Wolf Stage Win Points, Creighton now leads by an impressive 32 points but with attentions now turning to the next round, he isn’t planning on backing off and is well aware that the championship is far from a done deal and there is plenty of work if he is to lift the impressive prize drive package from M-Sport.

“In a championship like the Junior WRC, nothing is for certain and the guys around us are pushing as hard as they can like we are” he continues.

“Dropping out of the lead of the championship is just a puncture or non-finish away so we can't be complacent when it comes to fighting for the title. We must keep progressing of course, that’s why we are here. We can’t rest or relax at this level of the sport, but I`m confident we have everything we need to push for a positive end to the season”.

You can follow William's progress throughout his career by following him on his social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok

Copyright ©2023 William Creighton Media Office



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