Sesks finally triumphs at home in ERC3/ERC3 Junior after Pajari rolls back
Mārtiņš Sesks’ long wait for ERC/ERC3 Junior glory on Rally Liepāja is over after the home hero hit back from a testing crash to claim victory in his Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta Rally4.
Overnight leader Sami Pajari was holding on to top spot after Saturday’s opening two stages as Sesks closed to within 5.0s following back-to-back stage bests in his identical M-Sport Poland-built Fiesta. But a low-speed roll on SS9 left Pajari, the round one double winner, down in fifth position and 3m33.5s behind new leader Sesks, who reached midday service with light radiator damage following a brush with a pole on SS9. But any fears Sesks might have had proved unfounded as his Rally Liepāja luck finally held.
By finishing 1m16.6s behind Sesks, Jean-Baptiste Franceschi’s 1m10s time penalty for an early check-in at remote service on Friday would ultimately not influence the final results with the Frenchman a strong second in his all-new Renault Clio Rally4.
Pajari battled back to complete the ERC3 Junior podium but couldn’t prevent Rallye Team Spain’s Pep Bassas from joining Sesks and Franceschi in the ERC3 top three.
German teenager Nick Loof finished fourth in ERC3 Junior followed by Estonian Kaspar Kasari and Belgium’s Amaury Molle, who battled gearbox issues on Saturday morning.
Czech Daniel Polášek finished seventh with Romanian Norbert Maior restarting to finish eighth after suspension damage and a broken driveshaft put him out on SS2.
Austrian Nikolai Landa, who crashed into a tree on the same stage, finished ninth after rediscovering lost confidence. Martin László, who stopped on day one with broken steering, returned to complete the top 10.
Newcomer Joosep Ralf Nõgene stopped with a gearbox issue on Friday. Ola Jr Nore was in third when he retired his Clio Rally4 with damage on SS8. Łukasz Lewandowski drove his Opel Corsa Rally4 to ninth in ERC3 after rolling on day one.