Gryazin one stage from ERC Junior U28 title, 0.1s separates P3 battle!
Nikolay Gryazin is one stage away from becoming FIA ERC Junior Under 28 champion on Rally Liepāja while fellow young stars in R5 cars Fabian Kreim and Fredrik Åhlin are separated by only 0.1s.
Sports Racing Technologies driver Gryazin has taken a back seat to an epic battle between fellow ERC Junior U28s Kreim and Åhlin, who have sparred for third place since Saturday morning.
A stage win on SS10 bolstered Åhlin’s third place, only to run wide on SS11 and concede 1.8s to Kreim.
Pushing at “a minimum of 110%”, Kreim went fastest through SS11, leapfrogging Åhlin and taking a razor-thin 0.1s advantage for third place into the final stage of the 2018 season.
Åhlin and Kreim’s fight has propelled both towards second placed Chris Ingram, whose advantage over Kreim has been cut to only 13.7s, with the longest stage of the rally still to come.
A late position change between the ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland and Toksport WRT drivers would be crucial for both, with Kreim only one point behind Ingram for second place in the ERC Junior U28 standings.
SS11 was the most attrition-heavy stage yet, with Paulo Nobre going off the road. Non-points regietered Niki Mayr-Melnhof rolled his Ford Fiesta R5, while Oliver Solberg – son of 2003 world rally champion Petter Solberg – suffered an engine failure after running neck-and-neck with ERC Junior Under 27 champion* Mārtiņš Sesks throughout the rally.
*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA