Sat 06 Jul 2024

Keen teen Vaher ahead at home in Junior ERC

Jaspar Vaher is on course to make it a hugely memorable weekend for Estonia after he completed leg one of his country’s round of the FIA European Rally Championship leading Junior ERC by 37.3sec.

Absent from the recent Junior ERC rounds in Spain and Sweden because he’s too young to drive on public roads in those countries, the 17-year-old followed up his impressive V-Híd Rally Hungary showing in April by leading throughout the day aboard his Hankook-equipped Ford Fiesta Rally4.  

“It has been difficult today with the rain and the ruts,” Vaher said. “The rain was so hard that you could barely see through the windscreen and the ruts were full of water so that made it difficult. For sure we have experienced these conditions before but in the end it’s still hard.”  

Championship leader Mille Johansson is second after an overshoot on SS7 with his fellow Swede and Opel Corsa Rally4 driver Calle Carlberg fourth behind Estonian Karl-Markus Sei, who completes the podium. Carlberg dropped out of the top three when he stalled at the start of SS7.  

Timo Schulz, Patrik Herczig and Mattia Zanin are next followed by Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy’s Aoife Raftery, who stopped to change a damaged tyre on SS9.

Daniel Polášek reckoned he lost more than two minutes stuck in a rutted section on SS5 but holds ninth overnight. Davide Pesavento and Swedish Junior ERC newcomer Adam Grahn both retired on SS9, Pesavento damaging his Peugeot’s front-left suspension striking a rock and Grahn running out of spare tyres.  

Max McRae was in sixth place starting the rain-hit SS5 but was out of luck for the second event running. The Scottish driver explained: “We came over a crest and as soon as I put a bit of brake on the engine just died. I was on and off the brakes trying to get the engine started but we were passengers and we went straight on, there wasn’t much I could do.”

Vaher also heads the ERC4 classification, which includes Tuomas Välilä, Cristiana Oprea and Márton Bertalan, who dropped out of contention when he went off the road 300 metres before the finish of SS2 and inflicted significant damage to the front of his Peugeot 208 Rally4 before retiring on SS9.

Delfi Rally Estonia reaches its conclusion tomorrow, Sunday, with two loops of two stages over a competitive distance of 68.32 kilometres. SS11, Otepää 1, is up first from 09:34 local time with the Kambja Power Stage due to begin at 15:05. The city of Tartu hosts the podium ceremony from 17:30.

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