Sunday | 21 Nov 2021

Rossel snatches WRC3 title with final stage charge

Yohan Rossel grabbed the WRC3 world title on Sunday afternoon with a monumental charge through the last stage of FORUM8 ACI Rally Monza.

Rossel started the winner-takes-all finale tied on points with his Škoda Fabia Rally2 rival Kajetan Kajetanowicz and led the Pole by just 2.7sec after Friday’s opening leg.

The Frenchman relinquished his category lead to Hyundai i20 N Rally2 pilot Andrea Crugnola on Saturday morning, but remained focused on the fight with Kajetanowicz for championship honours.

Rossel had the edge on the mountain stages in the Italian Alps but made a bad tyre choice on Saturday evening. Kajetanwicz seized the chance to claw back some time and the gap between the duo was back down to just 2.6sec before the final day.

Kajetanowicz drew first blood by almost halving the deficit on Sunday’s opener before clinching the stage win on the penultimate test to move in front.

Rossel had to dig deeper than ever before. With the championship on the line, the Citroën C3 Rally2 star threw caution to the wind and went for gold.

He stopped the clock 4.7sec quicker than Kajetanowicz on the final Serraglio stage to finish 3.1sec ahead in the overall standings.

Although Crugnola won the category by 4.0sec, Rossel’s second place and Wolf Power Stage win were enough to seal the title by three points.

"It was not easy,” said a very emotional Rossel. “I have had a few technical issues this morning, so to be here is just incredible.

“I don't have words - I just want to thank all my team and my partners. We pushed very hard all weekend and I feel amazing," he added.

Kajetanowicz suffered late heartbreak in his title bid

Crugnola said: "It was a close battle all weekend and we had some small issues Saturday, but I pushed quite a lot. We had some previous knowledge of the stages and I am happy for the team and Hyundai because this is their first victory with the new car."

Rising hotshot Gregoire Munster finished 1min 24.4sec behind Kajetanowicz in fourth in his Hyundai, followed by Fabia pilot Damian De Tomasso, who was 39.9sec behind.

Chris Ingram completed the leaderboard in another Škoda. The British driver was lumbered with a one-minute time penalty for a late start on Friday but posted a handful of top three times.

However, he was penalised six minutes after a post-rally stewards' hearing for using 33 tyres instead of the authoriesd 30. He dropped to eighth, promoting Josh Mcerlean to sixth in an in i20 N Rally2.

Stefano Albertini set an impressive pace on Friday in his Hyundai but crashed out at San Fermo on Saturday. British hotshot Frank Bird also failed to finish his WRC debut after a mechanical fault sidelined his Ford Fiesta Rally2 at SS13.

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