Midday round-up: Gryazin leads, ERC street star Ostberg heads thrilling battle for second in Hungary
While Nikolay Gryazin’s Rally Hungary lead remains firmly intact, Mads Østberg is up to second place on round seven of the 2021 FIA European Rally Championship following a charging display on the streets of host city Nyíregyháza earlier.
The Norwegian, who overcame a damaged tyre on SS8, was fastest by 2.5s through the 5.78-kilometre test in his TRT Citroën Rally Team Hungary-entered C3 Rally2 to move ahead of András Hadik. However, with four stages and 8.3s covering Østberg, Hadik and Miko Marczyk in fourth, a thrilling battle is in store for the runner-up spot during this afternoon’s deciding loop. Gryazin’s advantage out front in his Sports Racing Technologies’ Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, meanwhile, is an impressive 59.5s.
Behind Marczyk, who celebrated his 26th birthday by going fastest of all on SS9, ERC champion-elect Andreas Mikkelsen (Toksport WRT) has demoted Efrén Llarena for fifth, having earlier repaired damaged left-rear suspension on his Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo following contact on Sunday’s opening test.
Simone Campedelli (Team MRF Tyres) is sixth behind the Rallye Team Spain star, while Erik Cais is eighth for the Yacco ACCR Team. Hungarian youngster Miklós Csomós and CHL Sport Auto’s French ace Yoann Bonato complete the top 10.
Sami Pajari leads Jon Armstrong in the race for ERC3/ERC3 Junior honours, the Ford Fiesta Rally4 pair in a remarkable P11 and P12 respectively. Norbert Maior (Topp-Cars Rally Team Peugeot 208 Rally4) is next up. Jean-Baptiste Franceschi (Toksport WRT Renault Clio Rally4) and Rallye Team Spain’s Alejandro Cachón are P14 and P15.
Javier Pardo holds a commanding advantage in ERC2, while Dariusz Poloński moved into the Abarth Rally Cup lead on SS9 after overnight leader Martin Rada stopped with steering damage following an off. Paulo Soria tops the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT classification but Andrea Mabellini will take the inaugural title if he stays in third.
Ken Torn, the dominant force in this season’s ERC Junior Championship, retired his Ford Fiesta Rally3 with a broken alternator belt on SS8.
Home hero Norbert Herczig crashed out of second overall on the same stage. The three-time ERC podium finished explains what wrong at this LINK.