Former ERC1 Junior champion Gryazin leads legend Loeb, wins class in France
Nikolay Gryazin, the winner of the 2018 FIA ERC1 Junior Championship, had the honour of leading last week’s Rallye du Var – ahead of legendary multiple world champion Sébastien Loeb.
Driving a ŠKODA Fabia R5 Evo, Gryazin completed the opening leg of the French asphalt event with a 2.6s advantage over Loeb, who was armed with a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.
Loeb then moved ahead on the opening stage of leg two, which was then cancelled due to torrential rain, and held his advantage until the finish with Gryazin topping the R5 runners in second overall alongside co-driver Yaroslav Fedorov.
“We survived,” said the Sports Racing Technologies-run driver following the rain-hit event. “We made it to the finish of one of the hardest rallies in our career, and we lost only to the nine-time world champion who was driving a World Rally Car. Yes, the competitive distance was cut short by more than half, but we still got to drive about 100 kilometres, which is still a great experience. And our victory in the R5 class with such strong competitors was really unexpected and awesome.”
ERC3 runner-up Erik Cais was also competing on Rallye du Var and impressed on his way to P11 overall, only his second outing in an R5 car and his first in M-Sport’s latest-generation Ford Fiesta R5.