Sun 07 Jul 2024

Virves on course for maiden ERC win at home

Robert Virves is one stage away from winning his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship after he completed SS13 leading Delfi Rally Estonia by 9.3sec.

The home hero, 23, started leg two 1.0sec ahead of compatriot Georg Linnamäe but has been able to extend that margin after winning two of the three stages run so far on Sunday’s deciding leg aboard his Pirelli-equipped Škoda Fabia RS Rally2.  

“That’s how it should be,” Virves said at the finish of SS13. “Some places we were really committed, some places could have been better but it’s not easy for anyone, some surprising holes and stuff so not easy to drive but we did a quite okay run.”  

Linnamäe was able to cut Virves’ lead to 2.9sec by winning SS12 but the Michelin-equipped Toyota driver had no answer to his compatriot on SS13, who was 6.4sec faster.  

“We tried what we could but it’s so hard to drive in the ruts, the car was just jumping out the whole time,” Linnamäe said.   

Citroën C3 Rally2-powered Nikolay Gryazin is a solid third following Mikko Heikkilä’s retirement at mid-morning service with a reported engine issue. Mads Østberg is 3.6sec ahead of Miko Marczyk in the battle for fourth place with ERC champion Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20 N Raly2) just 2.2sec behind Marczyk.   

Jon Armstrong is 0.7sec in front of Andrea Mabellini in seventh place followed by Gregor Jeets and Mathieu Franceschi. Teemu Asunmaa, Frank Tore Larsen and Yuki Yamamoto are next up with Mārtiṇš Sesks 14th for Team MRF Tyres. Kaspar Kasari rounds out the top 15 ahead of Estonia’s FIA ERC3 leader Romet Jürgenson.   

Jaspar Vehar, another Estonian youngster, leads FIA ERC4 and the Hankook-equipped FIA Junior ERC category.   

The points-paying Kambja Power Stage concludes Delfi Rally Estonia with the 21.31-kilometre test due to get under way at 15:05 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