ERC Junior U27: Kristensson defeats Sesks on home turf
ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team secured a 1-2 finish in the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC Junior U27 category on Rally Liepāja but with Swede Tom Kristensson beating new champion* Mārtiņš Sesks to victory on his home event.
Kristensson had already laid the groundwork for his second consecutive win on Saturday, with 18.8s in hand going into Sunday’s stages.
Both scored an equal number of stage wins – three apiece – during leg two, Kristensson’s final margin of victory coming in at 20.7s after a very evenly matched day.
“I’m finding it really hard to find words,” said an ecstatic Kristensson. “I think we’re doing such a good job all weekend. I was really happy to do a successful end of this fantastic season with this fantastic team, Opel Motorsport.”
“I am so happy right now I don’t really know what do! But it feels really good. A double win at the end of the season is fantastic.”
Sesks had plenty to celebrate despite missing out on a victory on his home event. Kristensson’s late-season resurgence was not enough to stop the Latvian ace securing the ERC3 championship title*, his second place finish securing a second championship trophy this year.
Miika Hokkanen ended his challenging season on a high note, repeating his podium finish on the previous event in Poland with another third place finish aboard his PEUGEOT 208 R2. His late success catapults him from eighth to sixth in the championship standings, leapfrogging fellow Saintéloc Junior Team drivers Simon Wagner – who was not present this weekend – and Catie Munnings.
Roland Stengg secured his best ever result in ERC Junior U27 with fourth place, although his path to success was made a little easier by problems for his competitors. Mattia Vita, with whom he was locked in a very close battle for fifth place, was forced to retire on stage nine with an engine problem, while Kristóf Klausz spun into a ditch on SS11 to hand Stengg fourth.
Munnings completed the top five in ERC Junior U27 and while she also scored ERC Ladies’ honours, the ERC Ladies’ Trophy went to Emma Falcón, who scored enough points with seventh in ERC3 to secure the title.
Thanks to help from spectators, Klausz’s car was eventually rescued from the ditch he had been stranded in for 20 minutes, finishing the rally sixth in both ERC Junior U27 and ERC3, still ahead of Falcón despite his mistake.
Sindre Furuseth had retired from third on Saturday and did not return for leg two due to a damaged engine.
*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA