WRC 2 in Spain:
Suninen streaks clear
Teemu Suninen overcame broken power steering to build an emphatic lead in WRC 2 after Friday’s opening leg of RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España.
The Finn has targeted the runner-up position in the WRC’s principal support category behind newly crowned champion Pontus Tidemand. He won the first five of today’s six predominantly gravel speed tests to build a near-90sec advantage.
Suninen was denied a clean sweep when his Ford Fiesta R5’s power steering failed in the final special stage. He wrestled the car through almost 39km of gruelling gravel and asphalt roads in Terra Alta to protect his lead and end 1min 17.2sec clear.
“We lost the power steering in the previous stage and I think I need to go to the gym because it was so hard to drive like that,” he joked.
Simone Tempestini steered clear of trouble in his Citroën DS 3 R5 to hold second, the Romanian driver ending with a slender 1.6sec advantage over Jan Kopecký’s Skoda Fabia R5.
Czech champion Kopecký was second until he was held up in the dust of another competitor during the first pass of Terra Alta. He dropped more than a minute and slipped to fourth, before battling back onto the provisional podium.
Benito Guerra was fourth in another Fabia, with Juuso Nordgren doing his chances of securing a factory Skoda driver in 2018 no harm by holding fifth. Poland’s Lukasz Pieniazek completed the top six in a Peugeot 208 T16.
Gus Greensmith retired his Fiesta in the opening stage with broken steering, while Fabio Andolfi and Takamoto Katsuta were sidelined after crashing at the same place.
Japanese youngster Hiroki Arai was third until he rolled his Fiesta in SS3, while gearbox problems delayed Yoann Bonato for eight minutes.
Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España.
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