Friday | 13 May 2022

Peerless Pellier charges into lead in ERC4

Laurent Pellier fought his way to the top of the ERC4 and Junior ERC timesheets after setting a scorching pace on Friday at Rally Islas Canarias.

A mistake on Thursday night’s superspecial adjacent to the Las Palmas service park saw Opel Corsa Rally4 hotshot Pellier drop 17.5sec to early leader Anthony Fotia, but he climbed from 22nd to sixth thanks to a stage win on Friday’s opener. 

Following the cancellation of SS3 after Simon Wagner’s accident, Pellier delivered another dominant run on SS4 to take the Junior ERC lead as well as moving to within a second of Fotia.

He then leapfrogged Fotia’s Clio Rally4 on the very next speed test and went on to build an advantage of 12.3sec over his fellow Frenchman. 

“That was a dream day for us, setting the fastest time on every stage with some beautiful landscapes along the way," said Pellier. "What happened last night was a big motivation, and we started again from zero today.

Fotia, although ineligible for Junior ERC points, is chasing Pellier hard for ERC4 honours

“It might have looked easy, but it was really difficult in the car. It was hot and we had some hot moments also, but the Opel Corsa Rally4 and Pirelli tyres worked very well and my co-driver and the team did a great job.

“This afternoon, we managed the tyres a bit, so we have full new tyres for tomorrow and we will see what the other guys do. We just need to stay in our own rhythm, with no mistakes and no spins – one already is enough!”

Clio man Andrea Mabellini is the only other driver still in touch with the class’ two pace-setters, a further 9.3 seconds in arrears. In the Junior ERC battle, Pellier leads from Mabellini heading into the rally’s final day.

Jon Armstrong crashed heavily into an armco on SS4, while Ole Nore and Mattia Via also had early baths with their similar Fiesta cars. Romanian hopeful Norbert Maior had been fighting for a Junior ERC podium but retired his Corsa on SS5.

  • Full coverage from Rally Islas Canarias is available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.