Sat 20 May 2023

Nore to the fore in Junior ERC

Ola Nore began the FIA Junior ERC Championship’s Hankook-equipped era in style by topping the young driver category after eight action-packed stages of ORLEN 79th Rally Poland.

Sixth quickest on Friday evening’s Mikołajki Arena super special stage, Nore notched up a trio of fastest stage times to complete the morning loop 22.2sec in front of Roberto Daprà with Timo Schulz third on his prize drive for winning the ADAC Opel e-Rallye Cup in 2022.

Schulz underlined his potential with the fastest time through SS5, the repeat of the 18.58km Świętajno test, to move into second overall as Daprà was delayed when he understeered into a bank on a left-hander and had to reverse.

But Schulz’s hopes of a runner-up placing were dashed when his Opel Corsa Rally4 was struck by an oil filter issue, forcing the German to retire.

Schulz’s misfortune let in Norbert Maior for second and fellow Peugeot 208 Rally4 driver Victor Hansen for third after the Swede had repaired an engine mounting fault after SS2. Daprà holds fourth after eight stages.

Meanwhile, Maior completed leg one with the fastest time on the rerun of the Mikołajki Arena stage after Nore had gone quickest on SS5 and SS6 in his Renault Clio Rally4.

“We wanted to make more gap in the afternoon and we tried that. On the fifth stage we got a good gap and survived through the rest of the stages because they were getting quite rutted and we didn’t want to break the car. We managed to keep the lead, the car has been perfect and the team is doing a fantastic job so I’m really happy. Of course a driver always wants some more but you have to take what you have.”

Mille Johansson, who was fastest through SS1 in his Ford Fiesta Rally4, is fifth overnight followed by Miko Jalava. The Finnish junior champion was delayed by intercom issues during the opening two stages on Saturday morning but improved his pace in the afternoon following set-up changes in service.

Second after SS1, Max McRae was delayed by an electrical issue but kept his composure to reach Saturday’s final service halt in seventh position. Mattia Zanin, Alfred Kramer and Aoife Raftery completed the top 10.

On demanding, fast-paced stages, building experience was key for the Junior ERC stars and they all gained vital knowledge in pursuit of competitive stage times. However, some were not as fortunate as others.

Simon Andersson ran as high as fifth but went off on SS5. Patrik Herczig crashed on the same stage, while Mexico’s Patrice Spitalier rolled into retirement on SS4 alongside his co-driving twin brother Nicolas.

An oil cooler issue accounted for Fabian Zeiringer when the former ski racer was running in the top 10. René Noller was in fifth position when he crashed on SS7.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM