WRC aims to boost female driver participation

The WRC's promotion company wants more women at the top of the sport.
Photo: M-Sport Ford
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The WRC Promoter announced last week that it has launched a multi-year programme aimed at increasing the number of female drivers in the WRC. The initiative kicks off this summer.

In the first phase, all women aged 27 or younger can apply to join the programme. Applications must include a two-minute introductory video explaining each individual’s motivation to enter the rallying world.

The promoter will select 15 suitable candidates to attend an intensive training camp at M-Sport’s factory in Krakow, Poland. At the test camp, all driver candidates will drive on gravel and tarmac and also try out the simulator. The programme also includes pace note practice, PR training, and mechanical skill assessment.

A jury will select three individuals for the next phase, which involves competing in the Central European Rally in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally3 car. Ultimately, the same jury will decide the winner, and the prize is impressive. The winner will get to compete in the entire junior WRC series next season with a Rally3 car, and the package includes testing as well.

“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,” says Peter Thul, the promotion company’s sporting director.

“But it has been some time since we have had female drivers consistently competing at the top levels of our sport and we hope this programme will go some way in helping to bridge this gap.”

According to Thul, the Central European Rally was chosen as the first race for the upcoming top three because it is held on tarmac. Presumably, many applicants will come from a circuit racing background, so starting on tarmac makes rallying somewhat easier.

Burcu Çetinkaya, head of the FIA’s all-female commission and a distinguished rally driver herself, praises the programme.

“I applaud the WRC Promoter for the opportunities they are affording young up-and-coming female drivers.I’m delighted to share my support for this important mission and I look forward to seeing FIA member clubs encouraging participants and applicants from across the globe.”

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