Advantage Kristensson after full day of action in Monza

Advantage Kristensson after full day of action in Monza

04.12.2020: Tom Kristensson has a sizeable lead on ACI Rally Monza in the fight for the 2020 FIA Junior WRC Championship. Title rivals Sami Pajari and Martins Sesks piled the pressure on the four-time Junior WRC event winner in the opening stages until being

Tom Kristensson has a sizeable lead on ACI Rally Monza in the fight for the 2020 FIA Junior WRC Championship.
 


Title rivals Sami Pajari and Martins Sesks piled the pressure on the four-time Junior WRC event winner in the opening stages until being tripped up by the treacherous conditions.

 


Described by the top-three drivers as ‘the most difficult rally they have ever faced’, ACI Rally Monza has proved to be more than worthy of a World Rally Championship finale so far. Torrential rain throughout all of Friday provided unpredictable grip with drivers really having to lean on their skill and knowledge.
 


Flying Finn Pajari drew first blood on Thursday’s opening super special stage and hammered his advantage home on SS2 to take another stage win, increasing his rally lead. For Pajari to win the championship, he had no choice other than to push for every stage win and rally victory. His blistering pace continued on SS3 until his EcoBoost-powered Fiesta Rally4 went sliding into a wall. The crew emerged uninjured but had to retire for the day leaving Pajari’s, and co-driver Marko Salminen’s, championship hopes in serious jeopardy.
 


Latvian title contender Sesks took a stage win point on SS3, inheriting the Junior WRC lead, putting himself in the perfect position to snatch championship glory. With a slender 1.6-second lead, Sesks looked to extend his advantage over title rival Kristensson on the very next stage. His hard work would be immediately undone though after being caught out by a change in grip, hurtling into a post, puncturing his front right tyre while damaging his intercooler. Sesks would limp his Fiesta Rally4 back to service where the M-Sport Poland team was able to repair his car in under 15 minutes, ready for the Latvian to do battle with Kristensson on SS5.
 


By the second pass of the Cinturato stage (SS5), Fabio Andolfi was in second position on his home event until falling foul of the rain soaked ACI Rally Monza stages, damaging his radiator in the process. He drove his car to the end of the stage, but the broken radiator meant the resulting damage to the engine was terminal and had to retire from the rally.
 


Although he could realistically take it easy to ensure a trouble-free end to the day for stages five and six, Kristensson locked horns with Sesks who had engaged ‘full-send mode’ in a bid to deny the Swede stage win points. Sesks’ charge was not enough with Kristensson coming up trumps by just 0.5 seconds.
 


The final stage of the day Kristensson nail another stage win to his tally. He now has 11 stage win points, closing in on Wolf Stage Win Award leader Pajari who has 16. With 10 stages to go, the fight for this award is still wide open.
 



Maciej Wada, FIA Junior WRC Team Directo
r: “Today’s stages have been a huge challenge for all of our crews today, but it is great experience for them. Every single driver that is able to finish this rally will be winners in my eyes as it takes a lot of bravery and skill to guide any car home in these conditions.



Martins and Sami both made such tiny errors today, if it was any other rally or less torrential rain they would probably still be right up there fighting with Tom for the lead. Full credit to both of them for pushing and fighting to the last and having such a positive and determined spirit. It looks like Ruairi and Fabrizio are on course for really strong points if they carry on the way they are going. I am actually really proud of how these guys handled today, they have got on with it without complaints which is very mature.”
 


Tom Kristensson, FIA Junior WRC Rally Leader:
“In one word it was slippery. There were very, very, very changeable conditions with different surface grip throughout the day. The gravel grip also changed a lot too. The standing water was so challenging as well, in one spot it could have been medium but on the next pass in the location it was completely full of water.



Otherwise we started with a really good setup and strategy and importantly, we avoided big mistakes which is main reason we are in the position that we currently occupy.”



SEB SCOTT- photo FIA Junior WRC

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/tom-kristensson-full-day-action-aci-rally-monza---216973.html

04.12.2020 / MaP

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