ERC Junior U27: Home favourite Sesks usurped by team-mate Kristensson
Newly crowned FIA ERC Junior Under 27 champion* Mārtiņš Sesks was forced to take a back seat to his team-mate Tom Kristensson on the opening leg of Rally Liepāja, the Swede leading the Pirelli-backed class by 18.8s.
Latvian driver Sesks was down on confidence after his double retirement on PZM Rally Poland the previous month, in which he crashed on both Saturday and Sunday. Fellow ADAC Opel Rallye Junior prodigy Kristensson capitalised, winning all six stages.
There was a late scare for Kristensson, his car’s gearbox playing up in the final moments of stage six, but successfully drove his car to service for repairs after the day’s competitive action concluded.
Miika Hokkanen is third aboard his PEUGEOT 208 R2, though the Saintéloc Junior Team driver inherited his current podium position from an incredibly unlucky Sindre Furuseth.
Having retired twice in as many rallies from promising positions, Furuseth once again pulled up and retired with a mechanical failure while locked in battle with Hokkanen. An oil leak began halfway through the penultimate stage, progressively getting worse and forcing his retirement at stage end.
Kristóf Klausz picked up fourth place after Furuseth’s retirement, showing metronomic consistency and a sensible approach to wrap up a drama-free day for the Hungarian driver.
Mattia Vita and Roland Stengg are locked in a close battle for fifth, the former sneaking ahead on stage five and finishing the day 5.6s ahead. Vita was recovering from a difficult start to the event, crashing into a tree on Free Practice 1 and damaging his car extensively enough to miss the Qualifying Stage on Friday.
Behind sixth placed Stengg, Catie Munnings drove the second Saintéloc car to seventh in ERC Junior U27, while also holding a comfortable lead in the ERC Ladies’ Trophy battle with Emma Falcón.
Despite being behind on the rally, Falcón has the upper hand in her title battle with Munnings, the seventh place she currently holds in ERC3 would be enough to secure a first ERC Ladies’ Trophy title.
*Subject to confirmation of results by the FIA