Fri 12 Apr 2024

ERC ace Cais controls it for SS1 triumph

Erik Cais has started V-Híd Rally Hungary on top with the fastest time through the Királyszentistván super special stage this evening (Friday, 12 April).

Chasing his maiden FIA European Rally Championship event win, Cais built on his strong Qualifying Stage form aboard his Michelin-equipped Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 to go quickest on the 2.05-kilometre test, which attracted thousands of fans and took place in warm and dry conditions.   

The Czech’s effort of 1min 47.8sec was enough to edge out the Pirelli-shod Škoda of Hungarian ERC regular Martin László (below) by 0.1sec as Hayden Paddon began his European title defence in third place. The New Zealander was 0.8sec adrift of the flying Cais in a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 fitted with Pirelli tyres.  

“It was good fun but the beautiful stages are waiting tomorrow,” Cais said ahead of Saturday’s six-stage route, which covers a timed distance of 102.20 kilometres.

Mathieu Franceschi was fourth fastest followed by Miklós Csomós and Team MRF Tyres-entered Efrén Llarena, who ran wide at the first turn.   

Multiple Romanian champion Simone Tempestini, Andrea Mabellini, Philip Allen and Simon Wagner completed the top 10.  

Despite hitting a concrete block, Jon Armstrong was 11th quickest in his Ford Fiesta Rally2, one place ahead of Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 driver Mārtiņš Sesks. Kristóf Klausz and Hankook-equipped Filip Mareš were next.

Qualifying Stage pacesetter Miko Marczyk had to settle for the 15th fastest time, 4.0sec down on Cais, after he missed a junction during the tight and compact stage.  

ERC Fiesta Rally3 Trophy contender Filip Kohn came out on top of the FIA ERC3 battle, as Jaspar Vaher (above) beat Max McRae and Timo Schulz to the fastest time in both FIA ERC4 and the Hankook-equipped FIA Junior ERC category.   

Round one of the 2024 ERC season continues tomorrow, Saturday, with the 15.30-kilometre Hegyesd test from 09:48 local time.  

However, ERC title contender Mads Østberg will be a non-starter after he was hospitalised with a lung infection. Although the Norwegian is already in recovery mode, he has been ordered to rest rather than chase back-to-back Rally Hungary victories.

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