Julius Tannert led the FIA Junior WRC category at Rally Turkey on Friday night after a gruelling day’s action on rocky roads and high temperatures created a host of problems for the youngsters.
The German led Estonia’s Ken Torn by 7.9sec, with Sweden’s championship leader Emil Bergkvist a further 25sec adrift in third. All three were driving Ford Fiesta R2 cars.
“We had a really tough day, especially in the afternoon when the long stage was hard for the car. We had a puncture and lost the brakes only a few kilometres from the finish,” said Tannert, who later suffered two further flat tyres.
“Luckily we didn’t lose too much time and managed to get to the end of the day. There’s still a long way to go but we are pushing for this victory.”
Jean-Baptiste Franceschi made the first move to lead after Thursday night’s curtain-raising street test in Marmaris marina.
When the action switched to the gravel this morning, Tannert and Dennis Rådström fought tooth and nail for the lead and the gap between them was never more than a handful of seconds. Franceschi fell back from the fight at the front with two punctures.
Tannert ended the morning with a 6.2sec advantage over Rådström and Torn in close contention, but punctures delayed local hero Bugra Banaz, Raul Badiu, Tom Williams and Enrico Oldrati.
The afternoon’s opening test caused havoc. Franceschi and Oldrati retired with a broken driveshaft and suspension respectively and David Holder exited after picking up three punctures.
But the biggest drama was reserved for Rådström, who slipped to sixth after a double puncture.
Callum Devine claimed a stage win en route to second, but there was heartbreak for the Irishman who retired in the final stage.
Emilio Fernandez ended in fourth, more than three minutes adrift of Bergkvist. Rådström recovered to fifth and Badiu rounded off the top six.
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