Junior WRC Rally d'Italia Sardegna, section three

Junior WRC Rally d'Italia Sardegna, section three

15.06.2019: Dennis Rådström has delivered a dominant performance in his EcoBoost powered M-Sport built Ford Fiesta R2 on the opening full day of rallying on Rally d’Italia Sardegna. Rådström ended the day 16.8 seconds ahead of fellow Swede and FIA Junior WRC champion

Dennis Rådström has delivered a dominant performance in his EcoBoost powered M-Sport built Ford Fiesta R2 on the opening full day of rallying on Rally d’Italia Sardegna. Rådström ended the day 16.8 seconds ahead of fellow Swede and FIA Junior WRC championship leader Tom Kristensson.

In his strive for the highly coveted FIA Junior WRC Championship Rådström started the day off as he meant to go on, winning two stages in a row and had opened up a lead in excess of 10 seconds by the conclusion of SS5. When returning to the Alghero Service Park on Friday evening Rådström had already notched up five stage wins and, crucially, five championship points. The experienced FIA Junior WRC driver is aiming to rack up as many stage win points as possible in his bid for the 2019 FIA Junior WRC Championship.

Jan Solans is the only other FIA Junior WRC driver to win a stage on Rally d’Italia with three stage wins and championship points so far. The Spaniard won the opening Super Special Stage at the Ittiri Arena on Thursday evening, edging Rådström by just 0.1 seconds. Following the cancellation of SS2, Solans lost time across stages three and four putting him 25.8 seconds behind rally leader Rådström.  He responded with a stage win on SS5 and began reducing his deficit to Rådström signing the day off with a third stage win on SS9 and 19.6 seconds off the lead.

Rally Sweden winner and Championship leader Tom Kristensson has kept true to his strategy of mistake-free, consistent drives on his FIA Junior WRC Rally d’Italia. Despite not claiming any stage wins, Kristensson has been able to keep himself within touching distance of the lead with fault-free performances.

Nine stages in, Romanian driver Raul Badiu currently lies fourth and 16.4 seconds ahead of Tour de Corse winner Julius Tannert who rounds out the top five.

After posting a series of promising stage times including a third-fastest time on SS5, Sean Johnston sat fifth heading into SS6 before disaster struck on his rally. The American clipped a banking halfway through SS6, forcing him off the road, an incident almost identical to the one he had on Tour de Corse. The crew escaped the car unhurt but were unable to finish the stage. At the time of writing, Johnston and co-driver Alex Kihurani’s has not returned to the service park and it remains to be seen if the crew will restart the rally on Saturday morning.

Dennis Rådström said:

“We have just focussed on our job and it seems to have been a good way of thinking. It has been very rough and quite enjoyable also, but there seems to be a big fight for the lead coming up. The stage wins and points are good, to be honest for this rally, we want to cross the finish line but we will continue with the job that we are doing.”


1. Dennis Rådström / Johan Johansson 01:48:26.2
2. Tom Kristensson / Henrik Appelskog + 00:16.8
3. Jan Solans / Mauro Barreiro + 00:19.6
4. Raul Badiu / Gabriel Lazar + 00:31.6
5. Julius Tannert / Jürgen Heigl + 00:48.0
6. Martins Sesks / Krisjanis Caune + 01:36.9
7. Fabrizio Zaldivar / Fernando Mussano + 02:08.2
8. Tom Williams / Phil Hall + 02:36.8
9. Nico Knacker / Anne Stein + 05:35.5
10. Enrico Oldrati / Elia de Guio + 06:53.7

- Seb Scott -  photo M-Sport


15.06.2019 / MaP

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