Martin Prokop goes for glory in JWRC

31.07.2009: Citroen driver Martin Prokop has made a near-perfect start to the penultimate round of his Junior World Rally Championship campaign in Finland this morning. Prokop could be crowned champion

Citroen driver Martin Prokop has made a near-perfect start to the penultimate round of his Junior World Rally Championship campaign in Finland this morning.

Prokop could be crowned champion for the first time on this event, if he scores one more point than J-WRC rival Michal Kosciuszko and four more than Aaron Burkart. Instead of sitting back and waiting for the result to come, Prokop has gone out and pushed throughout the morning. The Czech Republic driver was fastest on all-but one of the morning’s stages.

“It’s been a good morning,” he said, “I wanted to have a look and see what the pace was going to be like before I decided whether to push for the win or to take the technical race. Now I want the win, but, of course, I want the title as well.”

Prokop’s Citroen is benefiting from new damper inserts straight from out of Citroen’s Versailles factory - and those are helping him find more speed on these roads than 12 months ago. “We’re going faster than last year,” he said, “and we’re not taking the same risks. I am very happy with this. The car feels very good. I think we could have been fastest on all of the stages, except I braked too much on one crest in the last stage. You have to be flat out here.”

Local ace Kalle Pinomaki, competing as a wildcard entry on his home round of the world championship, moved into an early second place 6.6 seconds off the lead, with Kosciuszko third. Pinomaki was continuing the excellent run for the Renault Clio R3 car - following Kevin Abbring’s J-WRC win on the previous round in Poland.

Incredibly, for such fast stages, Pinomaki’s car is not running with the latest evolution of engine, the Finn is setting his times with just 230 horsepower to play with. “I had hoped to be fighting for the podium on this rally,” said Pinomaki, “but now I want to be trying to win. When I come back here tonight, I want to be leading junior.”

Kosciuszko’s chances of collecting this year’s Junior crown were ruined when he crashed out of the previous event - his home round of the series: Rally Poland. Despite this event being his last chance to collect points this season (Prokop is scoring on the final two rounds), the Swift driver remained upbeat. He said: “There is no big pressure for us. Martin [Prokop] has much more pressure. For me it’s really difficult to clinch the J-WRC, so we will enjoy this rally. I have had some spongy brakes this morning, but otherwise, it’s okay.”

Frenchman Yoann Bonato has placed his private Suzuki in an early fourth, with Rally Poland winner Abbring 11 seconds behind in fifth.


-full results, more infos and videos on www.wrc.com     photo Willy Weyens

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/finland-rally-martin-prokop-glory-jwrc-citroen-kalle-pinomaki-wildcard-entry-renault-kevin-abbring---67336.html

31.07.2009 / MaP

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