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  • Writer's pictureVIVIEN STREBELOW

A challenging first Junior Rally for Catie Munnings in Sweden

After seven months, Catie Munnings jumped in a rally car again with her local co-pilot Ida Lidebjer-Granberg and finished a challenging rally Sweden with new learning opportunities.

Photo by Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

It was the first day of rally Sweden for British lady Catie Munnings and her Swedish co-driver Ida Lidebjer-Granberg and two punctures immediately hindered her race within the first stage of the rally. With no service on the day, both fought with all they had before the team repaired the car in the evening service.

But it wasn't just about a difficult first stage for the racers, as the whole rally was contested in tough conditions and turned out to be very challenging for all participants.

"It was my first rally on snow, my first time with studded tyres and my first World Championship event!"

Friday started with some snow and Jon Armstrong lost his car resulting in a heavy crash on the Nyckelvattnet stage: luckily both driver and co-driver weren’t injured and got checked-up and released from hospital. But Armstrong wasn´t the only driver to hit trouble on the challenging first day: Italian driver Fabio Andoli lost his car as well and rolled-over at Torsby Sprint. Both the crew were not injured either. The lead of the first day went to Swedish local driver Tom Kristensson, followed by Latvian Martin Sesks and young Finnish Lauri Joona.

With a puncture on the last stage, Kristensson defended his lead into the last day of rally Sweden. Sesks and Joona, with more than 40 seconds gap behind him, completed the top three in the standings. Munnings had a learning day with some milage in her Fiesta and tried to adapt to the driving style of her car in some different and rough conditions.

Sunday was a heart-breaking day for Joona, who also suffered a puncture and dropped down from third to ninth place. Thus, Kristensson won the first round of the Junior WRC championship, ahead of Sesks and Ken Torn. Munnings finished her first Junior WRC on 14th place, collecting valuable experience, just as Lidebjer-Granberg who entered with just one week notice.

"The important thing was to finish, I know I can drive faster - and the competitive side in me will always want to be ‘on it’, but the risks weren’t worth missing out on such valuable experience when I’m still fighting to make the rest of the rallies possible."

Rally Sweden was a tough one and with mixed conditions. The snow rally was changed for the new actuality and it was all in all a difficult first round of the competition. WRC Junior will resume its competitions in Chile, from 16th to 19th of April.

"We always knew the bar was high in JWRC and I wasn’t wrong, these guys are so fast, experienced, and give 100% every stage. The positives from that are that it’ll push me harder than ever this year.

Photo by Olaf Pignataro/Red Bull Content Pool



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