Franceschi leads ERC3 Junior, Bernardi tops ERC3 overall on Rally Islas Canarias

Franceschi leads ERC3 Junior, Bernardi tops ERC3 overall on Rally Islas Canarias

03.05.2019: *Rossel second for Peugeot Rally Academy *Saintéloc team to the rescue after Franceschi hits early trouble *Furuseth and Rally Team Spain’s Llarena

*Rossel second for Peugeot Rally Academy

*Saintéloc team to the rescue after Franceschi hits early trouble


*Furuseth and Rally Team Spain’s Llarena complete ERC3 Junior podium




FIA European Rally Championship 2019, Round 2 of 8
ERC3 Rally Islas Canarias leg one : 3 May




Jean-Baptiste Franceschi won six out of eight stages in FIA ERC3 Junior Championship on Rally Islas Canarias today to open up a 16.9s advantage over Saintéloc Junior Team’s Sindre Furuseth.



But in the overall ERC3 classification, it's Florian Bernardi’s Renault Clio leading Peugeot Rally Academy driver Yohan Rossel by 22.9s as both French drivers impressed out front.



Meanwhile, Franceschi’s only setback was a mix-up between SS2 and SS3, when a member of his team got lost trying to reach the refuel zone.



It would have forced Franceschi to retire had it not been for Furuseth’s Saintéloc team, which refuelled Franceschi’s Ford Fiesta R2T. He arrived two minutes late to SS3, which led to a 20s penalty and dropped him down to third. But a string of fastest times in the afternoon put him back to first place shortly afterwards.




Although unable to keep pace with the turbo-powered Fiesta on the uphill sections, Furuseth was untroubled in second place, but still has Azores Rallye winner Efrén Llarena not far behind in the Pirelli-supported category.



Rally Team Spain’s prodigious talent broke Franceschi’s stage-winning dominance by going fastest on both runs of the Las Palmas superspeical, though gained only 0.7s on Furuseth to end leg one 10.8s behind the Norwegian.



FPAK Portugal Team ERC’s young talent Pedro Antunes couldn't quite keep up with the top three in his Peugeot 208 R2 as he adjusted his driving to the rapid island roads. He has a pair of duelling drivers within striking distance behind him.



Simon Wagner had run as high as fourth early on but his Stengg Motorsport-run Opel ADAM R2 suffered a mysterious issue on both passes of San Mateo, affecting his car’s steering.



He dropped to seventh on SS2 but began a recovery drive thereafter, spending the afternoon jockeying for position with ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team’s Grégoire Munster who had ended his morning with a puncture. Wagner had begun to pull away on the afternoon loop but lost around nine seconds on the first pass of the Las Palmas superspecial, dropping him back behind Munster and into sixth. Munster ended the day fifth but has only 2.3s in hand over Wagner.



Grigor Grigorov’s ERC3 Junior debut went well, a tidy opening leg earning him seventh place and keeping him within reach of Munster and Wagner ahead, 9.9s behind the former driver.



ACCR Czech Rally Team’s best placed junior talent Jan Talaš wasn’t quite able to match his Qualifying Stage pace, where he had gone second fastest. He reached the overnight halt in eighth place, 10.9s behind Grigorov, only to be excluded for a technical infringement.



Roman Schwedt was on a march up the leaderboard on Friday afternoon, piloting his Team ROMO Peugeot 208 ahead of Roland Stengg and Elias Lundberg into ninth. Lundberg completed the top 10 in the second ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team machine, ahead of Kristóf Klausz in P11.



Petr Semerád had a dramatic introduction to the ERC by rolling his car at a hairpin on SS2, though continued with only around half a minute lost. He finished leg one in P12, 11.9s behind Klausz. Another ERC3 Junior debutant, Nabila Tejpar, is P13.



Miika Hokkanen had been fighting for a top five finish early on but suffered terrible luck, picking up a puncture on SS2 and then sustaining a second puncture on the road section between SS2 and SS3. With only one spare, he was forced to retire. Stengg’s rally came to an end on the afternoon pass of Tejeda, losing a wheel and retiring from P11.



Sean Johnston is currently P11 in ERC3 for Saintéloc, slotting in between Talaš and Schwedt. Catie Munnings had also been due to compete in ERC3 with the second Peugeot Rally Academy car but was forced to withdraw due to a dental abscess.





What’s next: The deciding leg of Rally Islas Canarias features eight stages over a distance of 103.96 kilometres. Up first is the Arucas – Disa stage from 09h40 local time.





Richard Rodgers, photos FIA ERC

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03.05.2019 / MaP

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