It was a weekend to remember for the Austrian driver as he secured his maiden FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) podium aboard a Eurosol-prepared Skoda Fabia Rally2.
He also scored his first ERC stage win as well as tying with Simone Tempestini for ERC-Michelin Talent Factory honours.
Wagner was keeping low expectations heading into the weekend, but was surprised to be on the frontrunning pace.
“I still can’t believe we finished on the podium,” said Wagner. “The team did an amazing job and so did my co-driver Gerald Winter.
Congratulations to Simon Wagner???????? and @SimoTempesti ???????? - @Michelin_Sport Talent Factory tied top finishers at @AzoresRallye ????????#AzoresRallye #RacetoRome #FIAERC pic.twitter.com/cT1vEDxyWA— FIA ERC (@FIAERC) March 28, 2022
“It’s unbelievable and I never expected we could get the pace with the frontrunners on gravel as it’s our first international gravel event with the Rally2 car.
“I have to say, the times were a bit unexpected but we were quite clean with no issues, so that’s probably why [we were so fast]. I just found my own speed and rhythm and it was fine,” he added.
Wagner has typically favoured asphalt rallies and won last year’s Austrian championship on the sealed surface.
While he is still building confidence on gravel, the 28-year-old will be one to watch at Rally Islas Canarias (12 - 14 May) which takes place entirely on Tarmac.
“On Saturday the feeling was perfect, but on Sunday I struggled a little bit in the fast sections.
“I wasn’t 100 per cent happy with my driving. I know that I just need to get more gravel mileage, then hopefully this will be better and as good as it already is on Tarmac.”