Franceschi win helps Torn seal ERC3 Junior title*
Victory for Jean-Baptiste Franceschi in the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship class of Barum Czech Rally Zlín helped team-mate Ken Torn secure the championship title* by only seven points over Efrén Llarena (Rallye Team Spain).
Drama had struck Torn’s hopes of winning the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship – and the two prize drivers in ERC1 Junior next season that come with it – when he lost nearly two minutes on the first pass of Kašava.
Torn had been battling Erik Cais (ACCR Czech Rally Team) for fourth place but fell well behind into fifth, meaning a Llarena victory could potentially give the Spaniard the title.
But Franceschi intervened, having passed Llarena for the lead on the same stage as Torn’s time loss. Franceschi increased his advantage by 1.3s on Maják and though Llarena clawed that time back on Pindula, the final stage of the rally being red flagged locked in the Frenchman’s second ERC3 Junior win of the year.
Llarena secured second place but ultimately fell four seconds short of winning the coveted ERC3 Junior title.
Sindre Furuseth, who had an outside shot at the championship prior to the Czech Republic finale, fell to fourth behind Cais on the penultimate stage of the rally.
Ex-downhill mountain bike racer Cais impressed throughout Sunday, going 6.6s faster than anyone else across leg two’s six stages to score his second consecutive podium.
Though Torn had struggled for pace, he thrived on Pindula and demoted both Florian Bernardi to sixth and Yohan Rossel (Peugeot Rally Academy) to seventh, beating Bernardi to fifth in ERC3 by only 0.6s.
Miklós Csomós (East Motorsport Kft.), René Dohnal (ACCR Czech Rally Team) and Orhan Avcioğlu (Toksport WRT) rounded out the top 10. Turkish driver Avcioğlu broke into the top 10 at the last moment, overtaking Sean Johnston on the afternoon pass of Pindula and pipping the Saintéloc Junior Team driver by just 0.6s after the American was delayed by a puncture.
Outside the ERC3 top 10, Petr Semerád demonstrated what might have been after his first-class stage win on leg one. He caught and passed the only remaining ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team machine of Elias Lundberg for sixth in ERC3 Junior on Pindula, the position Lundberg’s team-mate Grégoire Munster had occupied before retiring with a technical problem.
Nabila Tejbar scored a last-gasp ERC Ladies’ Trophy victory over former champion Ekaterina Stratieva, gaining nearly half a minute on Pindula to secure the award by just 7.2s.
*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA