Eric Camilli is hoping his recent Rally Spain win will be the catalyst for a WRC2 title tilt next season.
The former M-Sport Ford driver put aside a lack of recent world championship experience to dominate the WRC2 category in Salou. Now he wants to follow that up with the 2022 crown and a shot at a full-time WRC return.
Camilli, who drove for M-Sport in 2016, has spent much of 2021 tackling his native French series in a Citroën C3 Rally2 although he also contested the Monte Carlo Rally and Rally Portugal in WRC2.
“Doing the French championship has given me a lot of seat time,” he told DirtFish. “That made a difference when I came to Spain. I was able to jump straight into the car and drive like normal.
“In 2020, I started the season really well with the [WRC3] win in Monte Carlo, but then the pandemic came and we only did one more rally in the whole year. Spain helped me to show again that I am still here and I can still be at the front.
“I’m not the guy who wants to make the big talk. I’m so happy to have taken this win with Citroën and with my team Sports & You – this was special for them, it’s the first time a Portuguese team has won at WRC2 level.
“I am talking to Citroën about next season and it’s looking quite nice, but of course, nobody knows yet about the budget. I have to talk to some other teams and manufacturers.
Of course, the main aim is to try to get back to the highest level in the sportEric Camilli
“If I can just guarantee five rounds next year, I think that would be enough to get me right into the fight for the championship – it’s a chance to show what I can do for a team. The competition is so tough in WRC2. The level of the driver is really high and this is why my victory in Spain is such a good thing.
“For next year, I want to fight with these guys. I have good experience of the European [WRC] rounds and that’s where I want to drive. It’s not so interesting to go outside of Europe to take the points at a rally if nobody else is competing there.
“Of course, the main aim is to try to get back to the highest level in the sport.”
Camilli is a driver with plenty of experience in the WRC, having worked on the development of Toyota’s Yaris WRC back in 2015 before switching to M-Sport and then onto Volkswagen Motorsport.
“The time with Toyota taught me a lot when I was still very young in my head,” he said.
“I was starting this project [developing the Yaris] when I had done only eight or nine rallies. It’s good for me to have worked with them, M-Sport and Ford and Volkswagen – this is the experience I can bring.”