Photo Credit: FIA Junior World Rally Championship

South Africa’s Max Smart has earned his first podium place at the Junior World Rally Championship Rally Italia Sardegna.


South Africa (10 June 2024) – In August last year, we met up-and-coming rally driver Max Smart who was taking on the FIA Rally Star driver search in the hope of earning a place in the Junior World Rally Championship. He made that happen and qualified… And now, Max has earned his first podium place on the international stage!

Max got into motorsports by riding in motorcross first. It was evident he had a raw talent for racing. From there, he moved into rally racing and has found great success!

There are very few South Africans in the motorsport industry, but every year, that changes. With the likes of the Dakar, Formula 1, MotoGP and International Rally, there is so much opportunity to see talented South Africans get behind the wheel. The only thing that often holds these incredibly talented riders and drivers back, is meaningful sponsorship.

Max was able to complete his 2023 season in Europe and has now set his sights on 2024.  His goal has been to earn a podium place which he has successfully done. He competed at the Rally Italia Sardegna and finished with a magnificent third place in the third round of the Junior World Rally Championship on the 2nd of June 2024. Not only was it his first podium of the season, but he also became the first South African to earn a podium at this event.

The FIA called it a “fine drive” which led to the podium victory. Max shared his thoughts about the win,

“It’s incredible to get a podium. This has honestly been a dream for me and as we crossed the finish line of the final stage and heard Petr Borodin hadn’t made up enough time on us I started crying. I’m flabbergasted and so happy. At this point last year I’d never done a rally in my life. To come here 12 months later after spectating on this rally last year, standing on the podium in Junior WRC is a dream come true. The support I have received from the FIA Rally Star team and M-Sport Poland has been incredible. My co-driver Cam really pushes me, we’re analysing everything after each stage, trying to work out how we can do better. The teamwork we had throughout the rally was unbreakable, it felt really good and I’m super-happy to be with him. Now I need to keep the momentum and learn from what we did here and keep progressing because there’s so much more to gain. I’m still so young in this sport, but every stage we’re learning, getting faster and more consistent.” 

This victory means that Max Smart’s current standing within the championship is now placed at 6th. Considering that a year ago, he had never raced a rally, he is doing a fine job indeed!

Max’s dreams span beyond podium places in 2024; his hope is to go on to win the Junior World Rally Championship in 2025. Follow his journey via Instagram here.

If you would like to support his journey to the championship, you can donate via BackaBuddy here or to become a sponsor, email the team here.

Max is on the road to reaching his dream. He is determined to make a success of himself and to fly our beloved flag alongside him. We have no doubt and look forward to learning more about the world of Rally racing! South Africa stands with you Max.

Sources: Max Smart
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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