2019 Junior WRC Champion makes successful WRC 2 debut

2019 FIA Junior WRC Champions, Jan Solans and Mauro Barreiro, made their WRC 2 category debut in the EcoBoost powered M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 on 2019 Rally de Catalunya.

The Spanish crew’s sole target was to complete every stage of the only true mixed surface rally on the World Rally Championship calendar in preparation for the 2020 WRC 2 Championship.

The pair finished tenth in the WRC 2 category after delivering well measured and mature drives across the variety of stages that Rally de Catalunya had to offer. A highlight for the pair was the spectacular Super Special stage on the promenade of Salou where the Spanish fans were out in force supporting their newly crowned FIA Junior WRC champion.

Fresh off the back of his 2019 FIA Junior WRC Championship victory on Wales Rally GB, Solans opted to use Rally Spain as a competitive test. It gave Solans first hand experience of the pace that the ultra-competitive WRC 2 category runs at on gravel and tarmac surfaces. Solans’s first experience of R5 machinery was in his Pirelli shod Fiesta R5 on Thursday morning’s shakedown when he completed four passes in order to become more acquainted with the car.

Friday saw the pair take to the gravel stages of the Spanish classic where they were able to find a comfortable setup and a solid baseline to build on for the 2020 season. Saturday and Sunday saw the rally shift to tarmac and with it, a totally new challenge for Solans. The tarmac surface proved more challenging for the Spanish driver as he began cycling through car setup changes as Solans began investigating his own set up preferences.

Jan Solans, 2019 FIA Junior WRC Champion: “Well it has been a long weekend, we have been learning a lot of things and we need to think about where we can improve. We didn’t finish in the way would like to after kissing a wall on the power stage, but anyway it was a good weekend to analyse and see what we can do to improve over the winter. I would rate this rally as an eight out of ten as a learning experience, but overall it was a six which shows I have a lot of work to do. We have looked at the times a little bit but when I get home I will study all of the times to see where and why I am losing time compared to my competitors. I feel that I am doing good but we have to analyse to keep progressing.”

Maciej Woda, FIA Junior WRC Championship Manager: “Jan Solans proved himself as a worthy Junior WRC Champion on Rally Spain. His maturity has been something to admire as he has been completely focussed on learning the M-Sport Fiesta R5 Mk II ahead of his 2020  campaign. I think what was particularly impressive was how quickly he and Mauro were able to adapt to the car and begin closing the gap to the very competitive pace of WRC 2. Don’t forget, Jan’s first kilometres in the M-Sport Fiesta R5 Mk II car were on the official shakedown so to finish tenth is an achievement he should be proud of – we are certainly proud of him. I’d also like to add a huge congratulations to Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja on becoming 2019 FIA World Rally Champions, it has been a long time coming and it is thoroughly deserved.”

Press release Junior WRC

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