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Sun 03 Jul 2022

Palomo bags maiden Junior ERC victory

Óscar Palomo claimed his maiden FIA Junior ERC victory at Tet Rally Liepāja on Sunday afternoon.

Driving a Peugeot 208 Rally4, the 19-year-old maintained his cool throughout Sunday to hold off a fast-finishing Toni Herranen by 14.5sec as well as winning the ERC4 category overall. 

Palomo carried a 14.7sec advantage into Sunday's finale and showed no early signs of complacency, going second-fastest on the opening test and picking up a stage win on the next. Herranen, however, was not about to be outdone in his Ford Fiesta Rally4 and replied with a stage win of his own to keep the pressure on.

The pressure continued to mount as 18-year-old Herranen reduced the deficit to 11.3sec before the rally-deciding Power Stage, but Palomo was the fastest of the two and kept his rival at bay. 

"I am very happy. I think this was an important victory for the team, for me and for the championship. I am going to continue to keep working hard," an elated Palomo exclaimed at the completion of the Power Stage. 

Rounding out the podium over one-minute behind was another Finn in a Fiesta - Benjamin Korhola. On his debut, the 19-year-old moved into the leading trio at the expense of Lithuanian Justas Simaška, who picked up a puncture on his Fiesta in the morning’s final stage and dropped to sixth.

Victor Hansen took fourth in another Fiesta car and was a mere 0.2sec ahead of Renault Clio driver Anthony Fotia, who is only eligible to score ERC4 points. Isak Reiersen completed the leaderboard in another Fiesta.

After competing most of Saturday's stages with no windscreen in his Opel Corsa Rally4 following a roll on SS3, Laurent Pellier was back on the pace on Sunday. He collected a brace of stage wins despite relinquishing his championship lead to Palomo. 

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