The FIA’s Rally Star program was designed to find rallying’s next big thing. Three rounds into its training season, it may have already found him.
Romet Jürgenson didn’t just shine against his fellow Rally Star finalists. By placing his Ford Fiesta Rally3 a mesmerizing third overall among a field of Rally2 cars on Slovenia’s Rally Nova Gorica, he stood out, period.
Such was the intensity of the competition, the 23-year-old Estonian was just 0.4 seconds clear of Albert von Thurn und Taxis’ Škoda, and another 0.2s up on András Hadik’s Rally2 Fiesta.
His nearest Rally Star rival was well over a minute further back.
“Finishing third overall is something you dream of and I really have to think through what just happened,” Jürgenson said.
“When I said in Weiz that I was going to take it more easy there and then try to push on this event, I was a little bit afraid if I say that and I don’t deliver then it’s a bit embarrassing, but now I can be really happy.
“For sure there are improvements that can be made but the development that Siim [Oja, co-driver] and I have done during the year is really amazing. The M-Sport Poland team is also truly amazing.
“You go into service and you see all the mechanics really determined to do all they can to make you feel comfortable and prepare the car so it’s always strong. And everybody from the FIA Rally Star team are so supportive, it’s incredible.”
It was Jürgenson’s second success from three starts as the so-called ‘training season’ reached its halfway stage – meaning the European representative remains unbeaten on asphalt.
Next up, Jürgenson is on home ground for Rally Saaremaa (October 6-7).
There, Max Smart will return after missing last weekend’s Slovenian event. He’ll be partnered by a new co-driver – 2023 ERC3 champion Cameron Fair.
Jose ‘Abito’ Caparo was second last weekend ahead of Taylor Gill who was fourth in the RC3 class but third of the Rally Star contenders. Abdullah Al Tawqi was fifth in RC3 and Annia Cillóniz came home eighth.