How battle for ERC glory unfolded on day one in Hungary

How battle for ERC glory unfolded on day one in Hungary

23.10.2021: FIA ERC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP RALLY HUNGARY Saturday, October 23rd 2021 After topping the order on Friday night’s superspecial on the Rabócsiring rallycross track, Nikolay Gryazin started Saturday’s first stage a mere 0.1s ahead of Miko Marczyk a


FIA ERC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
RALLY HUNGARY
Saturday, October 23rd  2021




After topping the order on Friday night’s superspecial on the Rabócsiring rallycross track, Nikolay Gryazin started Saturday’s first stage a mere 0.1s ahead of Miko Marczyk and Efrén Llarena.



The Latvia-based Russian extended that margin to 2.9s over new second-placed driver Mads Østberg by winning SS2 and moved further ahead with a second stage win on SS3 as Østberg dropped back with a high-speed spin into a ditch.



Despite reporting a power issue, which was later traced to a faulty spark plug, Erik Cais reached midday service in Nyíregyháza 7.2s behind Gryazin in second. And it would get even better for the Czech when he outpaced Gryazin by 7.6s on SS5 to move into first place overall by 0.4s.



But it would be a short-lived lead for the 22-year-old after he was forced to stop and change a damaged tyre on SS6, a delay that dropped him from first to P10 and handed the advantage back to Gryazin in his Sports Racing Technologies Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.



“I really don’t know what happened,” said the dejected Yacco ACCR Team Ford Fiesta Rally2 driver. “It was somewhere after the gravel started but I really don’t know. I’m really disappointed because it was a perfect stage from the beginning and the pace was really good. Tomorrow is a new day.”



With Cais no longer a threat, Gryazin switched his focus for the remainder of the afternoon to preserving his margin out front over Škoda Rally Team Hungaria’s Norbert Herczig, who lost precious seconds with a front-right puncture approximately two kilometres from the finish of SS2.



“We tried to drive on the normal route but we hit some rocks,” Herczig explained. “But the next two stages were very successful for us. On the third stage we were second and on the fourth stage we were first so the puncture was not a big tragedy.”



Mads Østberg went fastest on SS6 and SS7 to reach the overnight halt in third place, 39.7s behind Gryazin. But as the TRT Citroën Rally Team Hungary driver admitted afterwards he was lucky to avoid crashing heavily on SS3. “The conditions were very tricky [on SS3] switching between dry and damp all the time and in one fast place, a right corner, there was small bump in the road and I didn’t have it in my pacenotes,” the Norwegian explained.




 “It just put me off the line and onto the white line on the outside of the road and it just snapped around. We spun and got stuck for about a minute in the ditch, but I was lucky not to go into the woods because I was completely flat out at 190kph.”



Behind fourth-placed Hungarian champion András Hadik, Miko Marczyk is fifth for ORLEN Team after an eventful day. Starting first on the road, the double Polish champion was fourth after three stages only for a driveshaft failure one kilometre from the start of SS4 to cost him approximately 30s. The delay dropped him to ninth but he moved into fifth when Efrén Llarena was handed a 10s penalty for a jumped start.



After losing time on cold tyres on SS2, Llarena suffered a stall on SS4. The Rallye Team Spain driver is 9.4s behind Marczyk in sixth with Andreas Mikkelsen, Simone Campedelli (Team MRF Tyres), Ádám Velenczei and Erik Cais completing the top 10. However, Velenczei was forced to retire on the road section heading to end-of-day service in Nyíregyháza with damaged front-left suspension.



Miklós Csomós and Yoann Bonato, who are P11 and P12 respectively, both lost time with damaged tyres. Hungarian title contender Csomós also suffered a spin, while Bonato reported a brake issue. Ken Torn is P13 and the top ERC Junior driver followed by ERC3/ERC3 Junior leader Jon Armstrong and Sami Pajari.



Nil Solans was a non-starter on his debut for Team MRF Tyres after a technical issue in his all-new Hyundai i20 N Rally2 could not be rectified. A spate of punctures led to Umberto Scandola’s exclusion after he drove on a road section with only three inflated tyres on his Hyundai Rally Team Italia entry.







Richard Rodgers, photos FIA ERC DPPI

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/battle-erc-glory-unfolded-day-1-hungary---230324.html

23.10.2021 / MaP

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