ERC2: Alonso takes second Azores win in a row
Juan Carlos Alonso began his campaign in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category in style with a second consecutive win on the Azores Rallye.
Alonso had been fighting tooth and nail with ERC2 sparring partner Sergei Remennik on Thursday, with the pair swapping tenths of a second and the lead.
Disaster had hit Alonso with technical issues and punctures on Friday morning but come the afternoon it was Remennik’s turn to suffer, culminating with a retirement on Friday’s last stage, the Marques superspeical due to an electrical issue.
With Remennik picking up a penalty for returning under Rally2 rules, Alonso held a comfortable lead throughout Saturday’s five stages, only winning the rally-ending Tronqueira test while Remennik went fastest on the other four.
“What a weekend! We never give up in our fight to be here with a long trip from my country,” said Alonso, who hails from Argentina.
“It was a fantastic fight with Sergei on the first day. We are here, we win Azores Rallye for ERC2 back to back, two times in a row. I have to say thanks to my co-driver [Juan Pablo Monasterolo] for his wonderful work, my team and my family.”
Remennik’s engine had refused to turn over and start on the start line of Marques on Friday evening, the reason for his retirement only becoming clear later on at service.
“A shorted fuse caused a problem with the electrics. It burned out but it was the first time this has happened, so I didn’t understand what happened,” he explained.