J-WRC: Aaron Burkart takes first Junior victory

J-WRC: Aaron Burkart takes first Junior victory

01.02.2009: Suzuki Sport driver Aaron Burkart held onto the lead of the Junior World Rally Championship competition in Ireland today to take the first class win of his career. The German began Sunday’s competition with a comfortable 1min 27sec advantage over second p

Suzuki Sport driver Aaron Burkart held onto the lead of the Junior World Rally Championship competition in Ireland today to take the first class win of his career.

The German began Sunday’s competition with a comfortable 1min 27sec advantage over second placed Martin Prokop, and was able to adopt a safe approach through today’s five stages, eventually crossing the podium with a lead of 47.3sec.

Burkart was runner-up to Sebastien Ogier in the 2008 J-WRC series driving a Citroen C2. Rally Ireland marked his competitive debut in a Suzuki Swift S1600.

“It’s an amazing start to the year,” said Burkart. “For me it’s a new car, new rally, and new team - so it’s a wonderful result. This has been probably the toughest rally I’ve ever done - it was so easy to go off and lose time. I’m pleased to be here and very happy.”

Czech Republic driver Martin Prokop was second and pleased to have got his 2009 campaign off to a solid start - especially after he crashed his Citroen C2 S1600 on Saturday. “We’ve got to be happy with second,” he said. “We made a lot of mistakes at the beginning of last season. This is a much better start. I hope this is the way to win the season.”

Suzuki Swift driver Simone Bertolotti was third, 6min 34sec behind Prokop. The result was the Italian’s first ever podium and earned him six championship points. “It’s a shame we weren’t closer to the guys ahead, but today we just had to keep the position,” he said. “It’s been a fantastic event for me and Suzuki. I think we’ve started the season in a good way. But this is just the beginning; now we have to work and score more points - we want to get faster and faster.”

Frenchman Yoann Bonato was fourth in his Suzuki Swift S1600. Arguably the star of Sunday’s competition, however, was Kevin Abbring - the Dutch driver finished fifth overall but won all of Sunday’s stages in his Renault Clio R3.

- full results, interviews, videos and more on www.wrc.com  - Photo K. Brüggmann
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01.02.2009 / MaP

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