03 Oct 09
Martin Prokop arrived back in the Salou Service Park wreathed in smiles after posting fastest times on each of the morning’s three stages.
The Czech Republic driver, who collected the Junior World Rally Championship title on the penultimate round in Finland, is now 32 seconds clear of his nearest rival, fellow Citroen C2 S1600 driver Hans Weijs.
Prokop was delighted with his day so far, commenting: “It’s been really good. The confidence is good with the car and everything is looking well for me. I really enjoyed the long stage [SS7]. Okay, the road was quite dirty, but still I was able to find some grip and push the car. I will need to keep this speed.”
Having run neck and neck with Weijs through yesterday’s opening six stages, it was the 38 kilometers of El Priorat where Prokop really stretched his legs. He was 17 seconds faster than any other Junior driver - and 18.5 up on Weijs.
Despite being more than half a mninute down on his rival, Dutch driver Weijs hadn’t given up hope on scoring his first J-WRC win in Spain. “We had some trouble with the brakes this morning,” he said. “After that, on the last two stages, the time was the same [as Prokop]. Everything is still possible.”
Local ace Jorge Marti remains third in his Renault Clio, having been passed in the day’s opener by Aaron Burkart. The German’s Suzuki stopped on the next test, leaving Marti back on the provisional podium and Simone Bertolotti up to fourth in a Suzuki. Renault driver Kevin Abbring is fifth.