Opel again unbeatable at second ERC event
Double victory for Opel at the Rallye Islas Canarias “El Corte Inglés” in Gran Canaria
With his second season win, Chris Ingram extends his lead in the ERC Junior
Jari Huttunen celebrates first JERC podium finish, Tamara Molinaro collects more points
The British Opel works driver Chris Ingram also won the second event of the FIA ERC Junior U27, the tradition-rich Rallye Islas Canarias “El Corte Inglés”. In their ADAM R2, the 22 year-old from Manchester and his co-driver Elliott Edmondson finished all but one of the twelve extremely demanding asphalt special stages under the top three and achieved three best times in the process. With this impressive consistency, the Britons – who already led the Junior rankings after the first leg on Friday – kept Jari Huttunen and Antti Linnaketo in a second works ADAM R2 of the Opel Rallye Junior Team in check again on the second rally day and crossed the finish line a good 20 seconds ahead of their Finnish team colleagues, who completed the first Opel double victory of this season.
With this second season win, Ingram extended his lead in the ERC Junior U27 category to 38 points. “It was a sensational rally,” beamed last year’s runner up and European Champion in the ERC3 category. “The stages here in Gran Canaria were unbelievably demanding, extremely twisty and abrasive. You couldn’t make the smallest mistake and had to really keep your eye on the brakes and tires. And all the while our brand colleagues were putting the pressure on us. I am thrilled with our second season victory. The ADAM R2’s performance was fantastic.”
Jari Huttunen, who also completed eleven special stages in the top three, congratulated the winner ungrudgingly: “Chris was simply the best here. We saw that we have to step it up a notch on asphalt. But I am very satisfied. We put in a good performance, achieved a special stage best time and captured our first podium finish in this fiercely contested championship. After our bad luck in the Azores this is a huge relief for us.”
Tamara Molinaro was also all smiles after crossing the finish line in Las Palmas. Taking sixth place, the 19 year-old from Moltrasio on Lake Como and her Austrian co-driver Ursula Mayrhofer collected points for the second time in their ADAM R2 in the second JERC event and are now in fifth position in the overall rankings. “It was a difficult but great rally and another fantastic experience,” said Molinaro, whose participation in the ERC Junior is part of a joint development program of Opel, Red Bull and Pirelli. “The conditions were really tricky, the tracks narrow and at times unbelievably slick. We even battled intermittent fog and rain. So I am all the happier that we brought our ADAM R2 across the finish line and again collected valuable points.”
Good luck abandoned Aleks Zawada: the Pole had even put the pressure on both Opel works drivers Ingram and Huttunen in his privately run ADAM R2 when a mistake by his crew during special stage 5 servicing brought his car to a halt on Friday. So even with his victory in the second leg, he didn’t land higher than ninth place in the ERC Junior rankings. Timo and Rebecca van der Marel gave a sensational performance. The husband-and-wife team from the Netherlands who is not registered in the ERC Junior drove an ADAM R2 from the Dutch importer in the ERC3 class to a strong fourth-place finish.
Chris Ingram now leads the FIA ERC Junior U27 rankings with 76 points, well ahead of Aleks Zawada (38) and Jari Huttunen (36). Tamara Molinaro is in fifth place with 28 points. The next ERC Junior event is the Rallye Rzeszow in Poland from August 3-5.
Chris would like to thank his sponsors and partners for their continued support; Andrews Sykes, 11 Degrees, Express Solicitors, DSG Auto Contracts
Marcus Lacroix, Communication
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