02 Aug 09
Czech Republic driver Martin Prokop sealed a convincing victory in the Junior World Rally Championship category of Rally Finland today and with it wrapped up the 2009 title.
After dominating the two-wheel drive category from Thursday's first stage, Prokop enjoyed a trouble-free run at the wheel of his Citroen C2 S1600 today, taking the class win by 55.5sec from Finnish wild card entry Kalle Pinomaki in a Renault Clio R3.
At the end of the final stage Prokop, who made his J-WRC debut on this event in 2005, was almost lost for words. "Wow," he said, "It’s incredible, a big dream for me - the biggest moment in my life!"
Prokop joins a select group of previous champions that includes WRC factory team drivers Sebastien Ogier (2008), Dani Sordo (2005) and Sebastien Loeb (2001).
Later on, Prokop said he was glad his extensive experience had finally paid off with his first title. "We've been fighting for this for five years," he said. "We got close last year and in 2007 but this year we were finally ready for it.
"I could perhaps have won the series with two reasonable results here and in Spain but we took the decision to push here instead - and here we are. We have a lot of experience on this rally and I though if I couldn’t do it now something is wrong," he added.
Prokop's major title challenger Michal Kosciuszko (Suzuki) finished third on his final event of the season, to hold second place in the J-WRC on a total of 42 points to Prokop's 46.
German driver Aaron Burkart finished fourth in the J-WRC category and, with 35 points and one round still to go, remains the only driver capable of toppling Kosciuszko from second place in this year's series