2019 Billy Coleman Award finalist, William Creighton, has swapped his Peugeot 208 R2 for a new Ford Fiesta ahead of his fourth consecutive season in the Junior British Rally Championship. The JBRC will run as a one-make championship with the winner receiving 60,000 EUR to put towards a 2021 campaign in M-Sport’s Junior World Rally Championship.
“We sat down and looked at the options,” explained Creighton. “I don’t know why but this season has been the hardest to decide what to do.”
“We looked at everything, like European stuff for example. But if we went there in the 208, yes, the 208 is a good car but the fact that the new Fiesta is out it’s hard to know what other people would be driving. Also with the European stuff it’s hard to know what the progression would be after that.
“Do you try get the budget for an R5? We looked at that, but the answer was we didn’t have the budget for it.”
Creighton is now a well-seasoned JBRC competitor. He’s never been far off the pace since finishing runner-up to Callum Devine in his debut 2017 championship. Most recently, a Junior win on last year’s Galloway Hills Rally represented his potential as he fought back from an early puncture which had cost him 50 seconds.
“Experience is so important in rallying and I’ve done all the [JBRC] rallies apart from Clacton. But no matter how many times you go back to the JBRC there are always quick drivers, it’s never easy to win the championship.
“You have to be quick on both surfaces. We’re in a good place, we’ve got all the equipment and we have a good team in DGM looking after the car. I’ve no excuses so I’ll just try to do my best.”
Despite having a good understanding of what it takes to win in the JBRC, Creighton knows that he’ll first have to get to grips with his change of machinery. His clear ambition is to win the championship, giving him the opportunity to progress to the JWRC, but he’s not getting carried away.
“Obviously I want to do my best so I will be going to win but it is hard to know how long it will take me to get onto the pace. I’ll know better after I get a run in the car.
“It’s easy saying you want to go and win but to do that you have to be fast.
“For sure, 60,000 euro is a lot of money, but we are under no illusion, to go and do the JWRC takes maybe three times that.
“There is no guarantee that even if we did win the JBRC we could sign up straight away for the JWRC. It would require a lot of hard work, but it would be an amazing opportunity.”
Competing in 16 rallies last year, Creighton won the Irish Tarmac Championship’s R2 category and he remains open to doing more rounds between his BRC commitments in 2020.
“I’ll do as many rallies as we can manage. The focus is on the BRC and everything on top of that is a bonus.
“If you want to win a championship you need as much seat time as possible. You want to be in the car the weekend before, so you need to be doing something to keep fresh.
“Liam Regan will be back beside me on the notes again, there are not many people that can say they’ve had the same co-driver beside them since they stepped into a rally car.
“He’s been a lot more than just a navigator, looking after the admin and all the things I usually forget about.
“He’s been brilliant and with his driving background he has been able to teach me things which has helped bring me on.”