Pajari powers to ERC3/ERC3 Junior triumph, Franceschi closes on ERC3 crown
Sami Pajari moved to the top of the provisional ERC3 Junior standings with victory on Rally Hungary over Jon Armstrong, who was competing in an identical Pirelli-equipped, M-Sport Poland-prepared Ford Fiesta Rally4.
It was the Finn’s second ERC3 Junior win of the season and his first on Tarmac and came seven days after he took the FIA Junior WRC title on Spain’s world championship counter.
“We had a small lead after the first day but the first stage this morning was somehow really great,” said Pajari. “The conditions were so difficult, it didn’t feel so good on the stage but afterwards I could feel where we made the difference and it was really nice to do a great time like this. We scored a lot of points and this is also great for the team. Our hopes for the championship are really good so it’s a great weekend and a great seven days after our win in Spain.”
By finishing third, Toksport WRT’s Jean-Baptiste Franceschi (Renault Clio Rally4) not only remained in the hunt for the ERC3 Junior title but he also moved a considerable step closer to the ERC3 crown after Pep Bassas crashed his Rallye Team Spain Peugeot 208 Rally4 as he fought back from a damaged tyre on Saturday afternoon.
Alejandro Cachón finished fourth for Rallye Team Spain followed by newcomer Anthony Fotia (CHL Sport Auto Clio Rally4). Martin László was sixth with Amaury Molle seventh in ERC3 Junior following a catalogue of problems.
Hungarian Peugeot-powered pair Bendegúz Hangodi and Gergö Szauer were seventh and eighth in ERC3 with Adrienn Vogel P12.
Norbert Maior was third in ERC3/ERC3 Junior when a puncture on SS11 dropped him and co-driving sister Francesca down the order. “I made a mistake on one left corner and drove half the stage on the rim, I’m so sorry to my team,” a devastated Maior said.
It would get worse for the talented Romanian when a wheel failed on the final stage and he retired.
Patrik Herczig was ninth in ERC3 at the overnight halt but he crashed out on the same right-hand corner nearing the finish of SS8 as his father Norbert did several minutes earlier.
Poland’s Łukasz Lewandowski retired his Opel Corsa Rally4 on Saturday morning due to illness.