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  • Writer's pictureVIVIEN STREBELOW

WRC to launch project to boost female participation in Rally

A new multi-year WRC project launching this summer aims to increase female participation in rallying by providing young female drivers with training and competition opportunities, culminating in a fully-funded seat in the FIA Junior WRC for the 2025 season.

Photo by Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

A new project to increase female participation in rallying will launch this summer with the aim of establishing a path for up-and-coming female drivers and advancing their careers in the sport. The initiative is a multi-year deal, and the first stage will take place under WRC's "Beyond Rally" banner.

Every female driver aged 27 or younger as of January 1, 2024, will be invited to apply for the campaign, which will offer a yearly prize package including a fully-funded seat in the FIA Junior WRC for the 2025 season.

In the second stage, the 15 most-suited contenders will join a training camp held by M-Sport Poland at their headquarters in Krakow. This camp will involve proving themselves behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta Rally3 car, simulator training, and pace-note and reconnaissance competence.

Three of the 15 drivers will then be selected by a jury of top-level WRC stakeholders to join the WRC Central European Rally in October with M-Sport Poland aboard a Rally3 car. Having competed in that rally, the same jury will decide the winner of the fully-funded seat in 2025.

“WRC has a storied history of female participation. Michèle Mouton is one of the greatest motorsport legends, period, while in the past three years we have crowned female world champion co-drivers in WRC3 and WRC2," said WRC Promoter Senior Director Sport Peter Thul.

Michèle Mouton is one of the most famous rally drivers of all time and one of the most successful female racers in the history of motorsports. She became the first female driver to ever win a rally at the world championship level in 1981 at Rally San Remo. In 1982, she nearly secured the World Rally Championship title but was narrowly defeated by Walter Röhrl.

The last active female driver in a world rally championship class was Molly Taylor, who participated in a three-rally campaign in 2021. She completed Rally Finland but was haunted by bad luck in Greece and Estonia.

The new WRC path will increase female driver participation, which has been lacking in recent years. Currently, only a few female drivers are active in the sport, while more women are deciding to co-pilot at the highest levels of world rallying. Enni Mälkönen, Reeta Hämäläinen, and Janni Hussi exemplify this successful increase over the last few years in the WRC2 class.



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