Fri 11 Mar 2022

Linnamäe lays down gauntlet at Fafe qualifying

Georg Linnamäe staked his claim for Rally Serras de Fafe - Felgueiras - Cabreira e Boticas (11 - 13 March) victory by setting the pace at Friday afternoon’s Qualifying Stage.

The 23-year-old steered his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 through the 3.04km Lagoa blast 1.8sec quicker than closest challenger Erik Cais. Just 3.2sec blanketed the leading five drivers. 

Conditions were tricky. Heavy rainfall meant some sections of the stage resembled a mud bath, but Linnamäe relished the challenge. 

His winning time means he will get first pick of his road position at the start order selection, which takes place from 1800hrs (local time) today. 

“It was okay,” said Linnamäe. “We had a good clean run, but it was quite rough at the end with a lot of stones coming out. At the moment, I’m still thinking about the start order selection.”

Ford Fiesta Rally2 hotshot Cais was pleased with his drive, but admitted that unpredictable weather could make choosing his start position a gamble. 

“Georg started seventeenth on the road [in qualifying] so he had better ruts than us, but it’s no problem. It’s still really good for us,” explained Cais. 

“We need to think a lot now. Here in Fafe, if you start at the front and it’s dry then it’s really bad. But when it’s muddy, it’s the complete opposite,” he added.

The ERC is here

Local ace Armindo Araújo rounded off the podium just 0.8sec adrift of Cais in his Michelin-shod Skoda Fabia Rally2, whilst Spaniard Nil Solans ended six-tenths behind in a Polo machine. 

Reigning ERC2 champion Javier Pardo stopped the clock 3.2sec slower than Linnamäe’s benchmark in fifth, with Italy’s Alberto Battistolli just 0.5sec behind. Both were driving Fabia cars. 

Norbert Herczig was the first of the Team MRF Tyres drivers. The Hungarian ended 5.2sec back from the leading pace in seventh

The rally gets underway later this evening with the Fafe town-centre superspecial speed blast at 2108hrs (local time).

The leading times were:

Pos Driver Car Time
1. Georg LINNAMÄE Volkwagen Polo GTI R5 2min 20.6sec
2. Erik CAIS Ford Fiesta Rally2 +1.8sec
3. Armindo ARAÚJO Skoda Fabia Rally2 +2.2sec
4. Nil SOLANS Volkwagen Polo GTI R5 +2.8sec
5. Javier PARDO Skoda Fabia Rally2 +3.2sec
6 Alberto BATTISTOLLI Skoda Fabia Rally2 +3.7sec
7. Norbert HERCZIG Skoda Fabia Rally2 +5.2sec
8. Miguel CORREIA Skoda Fabia Rally2 +5.3sec
9. Simone TEMPESTINI Skoda Fabia Rally2 +6.3sec
10. Pep BASSAS Skoda Fabia R5 +6.5sec

 

  • Full coverage from Rally Serras de Fafe - Felgueiras - Cabreira e Boticas will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.
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