ERC Junior U27: ADAC Opel Rallye Junior 1-2 after Furuseth heartbreak

ERC Junior U27: ADAC Opel Rallye Junior 1-2 after Furuseth heartbreak

22.07.2018: ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team are holding a 1-2 formation in the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 category on Rally di Roma Capitale, albeit only due to a heartbreaking engine failure for category debutant Sindre Furuseth

ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team are holding a 1-2 formation in the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 category on Rally di Roma Capitale, albeit only due to a heartbreaking engine failure for category debutant Sindre Furuseth.



Mārtiņš Sesks led Opel’s charge heading into Saturday’s seven stages, tied for first with Saintéloc Junior Team’s Simon Wagner after Friday’s short superspecial in Rome. As Wagner was quickly eliminated after crashing into a wall early in stage two, attentions turned to another pair of Opel ADAM R2s lurking behind.



Sesks’ own team-mate Tom Kristensson overshot a corner and had to reverse in stage two, complaining his set-up was troublesome and stopping him from accelerating properly out of corners. It was Furuseth that capitalised, jumping from seventh to second immediately and staying there throughout Saturday, even staying in touch with Sesks despite taking a wrong turn in stage three.



Furuseth was unable to keep Sesks in his sights come the afternoon loop. His 4.3s gap to first after midday service became a 25.1s gap one stage later as he caught the ailing ERC2 category Mitsubishi Lancer of Juan Carlos Alonso mid-stage. Furuseth’s situation soon turned from bad to worse, as his engine developed a misfire and dropped to three cylinders during stage seven.



Though Furuseth tried to limp home to Leg One’s final 2.54-kilometre Pico Superstage test, his engine expired in the proceeding road section, ending his hopes of what would have been a stunning debut podium. Kristensson inherited second in the Pico Superstage, also picking up his first stage win after a frustrating day of setup woe. His team-mate Sesks looks somewhat out of reach, with 1m12.8s in hand heading into Leg Two on Sunday.



Rally Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena had been hampered all day long with an underpowered engine, struggling for pull in uphill sections of stages. Despite his speed disadvantage he remains within touching distance of Kristensson, 19.6s behind. Mattia Vita’s home ERC event did not go exactly to plan, overshooting a hairpin in stage two before an exhaust manifold problem hampered his progress in Leg One’s afternoon loop.



A close battle emerged late on over fourth place between current holder Vita and Saintéloc’s highest placed driver Miika Hokkanen in fifth. The Finn had originally been ahead of both Llarena and Vita until a puncture in stage five – which had caught out the majority of ERC Junior U28 competitors – put him behind both.



Hokkanen complained of power loss in stage six but then ramped up his efforts, slashing his deficit to Vita from 21.3s to 7.5s. His Saintéloc team-mate Catie Munnings is sixth, thanks in part to a dedicated performance from co-driver Anne Katharina Stein. Her pacenotes had been stolen on Friday, Stein working overnight to rewrite them from scratch.



Stein developed a migraine during the afternoon loop yet pressed on, reading notes at her usual speed and intensity, which allowed Munnings to complete Leg One after a challenging 48 hours. All drivers bar Sesks are one place lower in ERC3, a category which runs in tandem with ERC Junior U27 but is open to drivers of all ages.



Florian Bernardi holds second place, 1.4s ahead of Kristensson. Dominik Brož and Sebastian Johansson had barely begun their ERC Junior U27 adventure on Rally di Roma Capitale before it ended, both retiring in stage two. Brož clattered a wall and cracked a rim on his PEUGEOT 208 R2 and though his car sustained little other damage, was still unable to continue.



Johansson meanwhile retired with a technical issue. Roland Stengg did not participate in Leg One’s Saturday stages, feeling unwell and electing to withdraw after completing only Friday’s Rome superspecial. ERC Junior U27 championship leader Diogo Gago had filed an entry but did not start.

 

- Richard Rodgers, photo DPPI

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/erc-junior-u27-adac-opel-allye-junior-furuseth---179031.html

22.07.2018 / MaP

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