Sat 06 Jul 2024

Linnamäe holds 1.0sec ERC lead at home

Georg Linnamäe holds a narrow 1.0sec lead on Delfi Rally Estonia following Saturday morning’s action-packed opening loop of rain-hit stages.

Eleventh after Friday evening’s Tartu super special stage, Linnamäe was quickest on both stages this morning in his Michelin-shod Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 to hold top spot.   

While SS2 took place in largely dry conditions for the bulk of the Rally2 field, it rained for several Rally3 and Rally4 crews with heavy rain experienced by many during SS3 before it began to dry.  

“We’re feeling quite confident, hopefully we’ll come out on top,” Linnamäe said. “We still have some margin for sure. On the first stage it definitely felt like it wasn’t the best one, so I was surprised by the time. On the second one I had to be a bit careful because we got information that it was much slippier than it really was.”  

Linnamäe’s fellow Estonian Robert Virves is in second place, despite a two-wheel moment and a spin aboard his Pirelli-equipped Škoda Fabia RS Rally2.   

Mikko Heikkilä is third in another Michelin-equipped Toyota, 4.6sec behind Linnamäe, in the chase for FIA European Rally Championship glory after the Finn was able to make repairs to gearstick connector fault following Friday evening’s Tartu super special stage.  

Miko Marczyk is a strong fourth followed by M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 driver Jon Armstrong and Mārtiṇš Sesks (Team MRF Tyres).  

Mads Østberg reported brake balance issues and a leaking windscreen on his way to seventh place after three stages. Mathieu Franceschi, Andrea Mabellini and Benjamin Korhola complete the top 10 followed by Gregor Jeets, Teemu Asunmaa, Hayden Paddon, Frank Tore Larsen and Yuki Yamamoto.  

Paddon reached the finish of SS2 with steam pouring out of his Hyundai i20 N Rally2, which he had to nurse through SS3. The defending European champion said: “We had a big nosedive over a jump halfway through the stage and it’s just lost all the water straight away.”  

Simone Tempestini was also in trouble when he ran wide on a high-speed left-hand turn 15.2 kilometres from the start of SS2 and rolled. Tempestini and co-driver Sergiu Itu were uninjured but their Fabia RS Rally2 sustained significant damage.   

Giacomo Costenaro went off into a ditch after 6.8 kilometres but continued after spectators helped to get his car back on the road.   

Romet Jürgenson leads fellow Estonian Patrick Enok by 0.1sec in the FIA ERC3 battle with Enok the top ERC Fiesta Rally3 Trophy runner. Title contender Filip Kohn was delayed after he was forced to change a damaged left-rear tyre on SS2. He lost further ground with broken front-left brake caliper later in the stage due to a “big hit”.  

Seventeen-year-old Estonian Jaspar Vaher (Ford Fiesta Rally4) leads FIA Junior ERC and FIA ERC4 with a 10.7sec advantage over Opel Corsa Rally4-driving Swede Calle Carlberg.   

Delfi Rally Estonia continues with the repeat of the day-opening 21.45-kilometre Raanitsa stage from 11:05 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