ERC Under 27: Sesks scoops first Junior win and ERC3 victory

ERC Under 27: Sesks scoops first Junior win and ERC3 victory

23.07.2018: FIA European Rally Championship 2018: Round 5 of 8 Rally di Roma Capitale: Leg two , 22 July Mārtiņš Sesks belied his 18 years with a mature, faultless performance to score a first Pirelli-supported FIA ERC Junior Under 27 win on Rally

FIA European Rally Championship 2018: Round 5 of 8
Rally di Roma Capitale: Leg two , 22 July



Mārtiņš Sesks belied his 18 years with a mature, faultless performance to score a first Pirelli-supported FIA ERC Junior Under 27 win on Rally di Roma Capitale, also scooping victory in ERC3 and leading home a 1-2 finish for the ADAC Opel Junior Rallye Team.



ERC Junior Experience graduate Sesks, from Latvia, took advantage of knowledge gleaned from recceing the event in 2017 to hit the ground running, holding over a minute in hand over Swedish team-mate Tom Kristensson throughout Sunday.



It was a less comfortable finish for Kristensson. Rally Team Spain driver Efrén Llarena had struggled through Leg One with an underpowered car, but his PEUGEOT 208 R2 came to life on Sunday at full power, allowing him to close in from third place.



Winning three afternoon stages, Llarena closed his 19.8s deficit from Kristensson to only 7.8s but ran out of kilometres to catch and pass him for second place. Italian driver Mattia Vita scored a career-best fourth place on his home ERC round, bringing his 208 R2 to the finish in Ostia in one piece for vital ERC Junior U27 points.



 Catie Munnings and Anne Katharina Stein demonstrated that perseverance pays by securing their equal-best finish in ERC Junior U27 with fifth place. Their rally had started off in difficult circumstances, their pacenotes stolen and requiring a full rewrite from scratch on Friday night that caused Stein a migraine on Saturday.



Taking medicine to ease the pain, Stein and Munnings pressed on and were rewarded for their effort, with an ERC Ladies’ Trophy victory along with their ERC Junior U27 top five finish. Dominik Brož had retired his ACCR Czech Team-prepared 208 R2 on Saturday morning after running wide and becoming beached on a bank, returning on Sunday to secure sixth place.



Munnings’ Saintéloc Junior team-mate Miika Hokkanen had been locked in a close battle for fourth place with Vita but retired at midday service. His car had been down on power throughout Saturday morning, necessitating a wiring loom swap.



As one of the most complicated part changes possible it was always going to be tough to execute during a 30-minute service and, unable to repair the car and leave within one hour of arrival at service, Hokkanen was forced to retire.



Like Brož, Sebastian Johansson had also returned from retirement for Leg Two’s action but retired once again after stage 12. Sesks was told to push by his ADAC Opel team to secure ERC3 honours in the latter stages of Leg Two, though his battle with Florian Bernardi was resolved when the Frenchman crashed his Renault Clio R3T on the penultimate run.



Bernardi had more than halved his disadvantage to Sesks after a stellar recovery drive but damaged his car’s front end while pushing to try and take what would have been a stunning last-gasp win.



 Sindre Furuseth and Simon Wagner were unable to restart following their Saturday DNFs, both having impressed in ERC Junior U27 in the early stages.
 




 Richard Rodgers, photo FIA ERC

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/erc-under-27-sesks-junior-win-erc3-victory---179112.html

23.07.2018 / MaP

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