The Saintéloc Junior Team will embark on one of its toughest challenges yet when it enters rising talents Catie Munnings and Laurent Pellier on the FIA European Rally Championship-counting Cyprus Rally from 15-17 June. Based in Larnaca, the Cyprus Rally has put car and crew to a significant test for more than 40 years. And while the current format is a little less taxing than it once was, underestimating the challenging nature of this rallying heavyweight would be a big mistake. Saintéloc, a leading entrant in the ERC Junior Championship’s Under 27 and Under 28 categories, will run Munnings and Pellier in a pair of PEUGEOT 208 R2s, flanked with a striking mainly yellow and blue livery. While Munnings is no stranger to a Saintéloc 208 R2 through her ERC Junior U27 campaign, Pellier will be rediscovering the French car as he steps down from the PEUGEOT 208 T16 he uses in ERC Junior U28 for a one-off return to a 208 R2, in which he won the 208 Rally Cup in his native France in 2017.
“It’s such an iconic rally with a huge history,” said Briton Munnings, 20. “I was a spectator in 2016 and said it would be fantastic to do the rally one day so it’s a dream come true. I love the challenge of a tough rally. Getting to the finish of any ERC event is an achievement, but Cyprus takes that to whole new level.” With regular co-driver Anna Katherine Stein already committed to an event in Czech Republic, Munnings has recruited Spaniard Alba Sánchez to navigate her through the Cyprus Rally’s 13 stages, which cover a competitive distance of 208.14 kilometres.
“I’m extremely grateful to the people who have given me this opportunity,” Munnings continued. “This will be an entirely new rally for me but we are looking forward to demonstrating the strength and reliability of the Saintéloc Junior Team’s PEUGEOT 208 R2. I have high hopes of how the car will perform on the tough and technical stages and how it will compare against the Group N cars. Laurent and I agree the PEUGEOT 208 R2 is the best car for junior drivers to train and develop in, and Cyprus, with the warm atmosphere, incredible stages and extreme conditions, will provide the perfect training. This rally will be tough but our car and motivation will be tougher.”
Twenty-three-year-old Frenchman Pellier, who drives for the Saintéloc-run PEUGEOT Rally Academy in ERC Junior U28, said: “It's a huge pleasure to take part on the mythical Cyprus Rally. I would like to thank the Saintéloc Junior Team for this opportunity and their trust. I can’t wait to get back behind the steering wheel of the PEUGEOT 208 R2. It’s an enjoyable and easy car to drive, reliable and good for young drivers. My goal is to win the 2WD class and show the PEUGEOT 208 is the reference in the R2 class.”