Fri 14 Jun 2024

Swedish rain changes the game in ERC

Rain on the seventh stage of BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia has changed the order with the early runners benefiting from drier conditions and those starting towards the lower half of the top 20 significantly hampered by the sudden downpour.

Having won SS6 and with a lead of 2.6sec starting the Bondestad test, Oliver Solberg appeared to be in the ascendancy. But rain throughout the 11.74-kilometre test made for challenging driving conditions for the Swede, who won his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship last season.  

Running 19th on the road, Solberg was sixth quickest through the stage as a result of the heavy rain as Hayden Paddon, who started the stage six cars in front, closed to within 1.3sec.   “All the rain came, everything, came, now, unbelievable,” Pirelli-equipped Škoda Fabia Rally2 driver Solberg said. “But I’m glad I didn’t lose too much time, very lucky, it was so slippery in the end, incredible. I tried my best but a bit unlucky with the weather.”

Paddon, driving a Pirelli-shod Hyundai i20 N Rally2, was 3.1sec off the lead after SS3 this morning. But back-to-back stage wins from the New Zealander cut Solberg’s advantage to 1.4sec heading to service in Karlstad.   

Solberg responded with the fastest time on SS6, the rerun of the Grönlund stage, before the weather took hold on SS7.  

Having slipped from third to fourth behind Mikko Heikkilä after SS6, Mārtiṇš Sesks (Team MRF Tyres) fell to sixth at the competition of SS7 as Frank Tore Larsen climbed to fourth, one place adrift of Heikkilä, who took the stage win in his Michelin-equipped Toyota GR Yaris Rally2. Mathieu Franceschi also got ahead of Sesks.   

Isak Reiersen also dropped a place, falling from seventh to eighth behind Mads Østberg. “A lot of rain, no rain, a lot of rain all the time the wipers were on or off so it was very challenging,” Reiersen said.  

In the FIA ERC3 battle, Filip Kohn demoted long-term leader Tristan Charpentier for top spot on SS7 by 3.2sec.   

Having claimed five stage wins so far in the Hankook-equipped FIA Junior ERC category, Patrik Hallberg’s lead over fellow Swede is up to 6.1sec.   The second visit to the 6.43-kilometre Colins stage, complete with the spectacular Colin’s Crest jump, is up next from 16:09 local time.

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