JWRC enters new era of unknown but fixed costs

Before moving any further, let me quote the honorable Governor William J. Le Petomane here.

“What’ll cost, man, what’ll cost?”

That is still the main topic surrounding every single discussion about the 2014 Junior World Rally Championship. No matter how many news and information Citroën Racing releases, eventually everything ends up being about the costs and expenses. Rightfully so, if we consider JWRC to be, well, junior category, the first rung, the first step towards bigger and better or at least faster things.

Thanks to more transparent approach exercised by M-Sport, we know pretty much all there is to know about the other supporting WRC formula, DMACK Drive Fiesta Cup – we know all about the car, the events and ultimately the price.

But in Citroën Racing case, price is never mentioned. At least I did not see it, but I accept the possibility of just not being careful enough. In their latest PR (see below) they did mention price on one occassion, saying it will be “fixed”. Well, that’s nice.

Perhaps we, the general and thus not at all concerned and/or targeted public have no right to know. If I were a driver or a team, it would take one phone call to get all the facts and figures, but regardless, there is no point in hiding this number. If the whole JWRC package is really affordable and in line with oh-so-popular cost cutting, why not put it in all press releases and statements. Or does FIA think it’s actually totally irrelevant, the costs that is. I would not be surprised.

Latest Citroën Racing PR thingy follows.

A NEW ERA FOR THE FIA JUNIOR WRC

Since it was first introduced in 2001, the FIA Junior WRC has been seen as an essential stepping stone for young drivers looking to reach the top level of world rallying. The history of this category is closely linked with that of Citroën Racing, as no fewer than five drivers have won the title in the Brand’s customer racing products: Sébastien Loeb (2001), Dani Solà (2002), Dani Sordo (2005), Sébastien Ogier (2008) and Martin Prokop (2009).

After switching to a one-make format in 2011, the FIA Junior WRC is now about to enter a new era with Citroën Racing. One of the leading models in the “two-wheel drive” class, both in terms of performance and reliability, the Citroën DS3 R3 has been chosen to be used by all of the crews taking part in the championship.

In order to ensure the crews enjoy complete sporting fairness, a high quality of service and controlled costs, Citroën Racing has selected several teams that meet its specifications to take part in the championship. These operators will provide the drivers with a “turnkey” programme for a fixed price, including provision of the car, team personnel, spare parts, entry fees and administration, racing insurance, accommodation, etc. All the competitors will use identical Michelin tyres and FIA fuel, which are also included in the service provided by the teams.

From a sporting perspective, the FIA Junior WRC is open to drivers under 28 years old. The calendar is made up of six rallies (Portugal, Poland, Finland, Germany, France and Wales GB), at which crews will complete all of the stages. Points are awarded using the standard FIA scale, and all results count towards the final overall standings. Drivers are also entered in the WRC3 and may therefore also attempt to win this title.

Keen to make it easier for the most promising young drivers to graduate to top-level racing, Citroën Racing and its partners Total and Michelin will reward the champion with a six-round WRC2 programme in 2015 at the wheel of a Citroën DS3 R5. The future champion will therefore follow in the footsteps of Sébastien Chardonnet, winner of the 2013 Citroën Top Driver series, who is enjoying similar support this season.

In addition to the Drivers’ title and the Nations Trophy awarded by the FIA, Citroën Racing will be organising a Teams’ championship. To take part, each team must enter two cars; the points scored by both cars will count towards this competition. Citroën Racing will offer the winning Team the opportunity to run the DS3 R5 awarded to the FIA Junior WRC champion.
QUOTE, UNQUOTE

Marek Nawarecki, Customer Racing Manager at Citroën Racing: “We are delighted to have been chosen to supply cars to the FIA Junior WRC drivers. The Citroën DS3 R3 is an ideal car for promising young rally drivers. As we showed last year in the Citroën Top Driver series, its performance levels enable drivers to contest the WRC3 title. By taking part in all of the events, the drivers will acquire more experience whilst also enjoying a much higher media profile. In order to ensure there is genuine sporting fairness between the competitors, we selected teams that were capable of meeting the quality requirements of Citroën Racing. Regardless of the team they opt for, the drivers are guaranteed to be able to compete on equal terms.”

Jarmo Mahonen, FIA Rally Director: “It is our intention to establish this pyramid so that drivers wishing to pursue a professional career in our sport have a clear path, learning on all levels as they progress. Now, drivers can compete for a prestigious junior title in the European Championship in a smaller capacity car, at a very reasonable cost, before graduating to the slightly more powerful Citroën DS3 R3T in the Junior WRC. Here, in front of influential manufacturers, they have the chance to make their mark and with a drive in an R5 car for the winner, this really completes the logical path to the full WRC.”
2014 FIA JUNIOR WRC CALENDAR

3-6 April: Rally de Portugal
26-29 June: Rally Poland
31 July – 3 August: Rally Finland
21-24 August: Rallye Deutschland
2-5 October: Rallye de France-Alsace
13-16 November: Wales Rally GB

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