Tom Kristensson narrowly holds onto his FIA Junior WRC Championship rally lead after an adrenaline-filled day of rallying on Tour de Corse.
Following Martin Sesks’s and Sean Johnston’s incidents on Friday, both of their cars were retired from the rally before the start of Saturday’s stages.
There have been four different stage winners over 127 exhilaratingly difficult competitive kilometres. Kristensson increased his rally lead after SS7 but only to 1.7 seconds. Julius Tannert suffered a spin, losing 59 seconds and dropped to third handing Dennis Rådström second place on the stage and road.
Jan Solans reaffirmed himself as a force to be reckoned with on tarmac, taking victory on SS8 and SS11 by 4.2 and 2.6 seconds respectively. Solans’s success was not without error after a costly mistake on SS9 damaged the rear right suspension of the Spaniard’s Fiesta R2 car with notional timings preventing Solans from dropping further down the road.
Tannert asserted his tarmac expertise on SS9 with a magnificent piece of driving. The German beat rivals Kristensson and Rådström by almost 20 seconds on the last 14.43 kilometres of the 47.18-kilometre-long stage. This performance brought Tannert right back into contention for victory and earned him his first stage win of the 2019 Junior WRC Championship.
Rådström responded on SS10 becoming the fourth different stage winner of the day, edging Tannert by just 0.7 seconds, taking a sizeable chunk out of Kristensson’s lead and reducing it to just 4.9 seconds.
Kristensson’s careful approach caused his lead to reduce further on SS11, setting the Junior WRC up for an epic conclusion to Tour de Corse on Sunday. Solans took SS11 honours with Tannert a close second taking a notable chunk out of Kristensson’s lead. Tannert reduced the gap to third to just 6.6 seconds, Rådström continued his momentum too, leaving Kristensson a 0.4-second advantage with 51.19 kilometres of competitive stages left.
Tom Kristensson said:
“The fight for the lead here is incredibly close and so exciting, it is a really great feeling to be a part of it. I have my plan which I will stick to. Points, kilometres and finishes are more important to me at the moment, we will see what happens tomorrow. I am really happy with how competitive I have been, the pace notes have been really good and being back on tarmac has been amazing.”
TOUR DE CORSE CLASSIFICATION, SECTION FIVE:
1. Tom Kristensson / Henrik Appelskog
2. Dennis Rådström / Johan Johansson + 00:00.4
3. Julius Tannert / Jürgen Heigl + 00:06.6
4. Jan Solans / Mauro Barreiro + 02:05.4
5. Raul Badiu / Gabriel Lazar + 04:38.0
6. Tom Williams / Phil Hall + 05:44.3
7. Roland Poom / Ken Jarveoja + 06:20.2
8. Enrico Oldrati / Elia de Guio + 06:51.1
9. Nico Knacker / Tobias Braun + 07:32.4
10. Fabrizio Zaldivar / Fernando Mussano + 08:46.2
Ken Torn / Kauri Pannas
Martins Sesks / Krisjanis Caune
Sean Johnston / Alex Kihurani