Martin Koci was the standout performer in the Junior WRC at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB as he scooped his first category win of the season.
The Slovakian, whose title hopes were derailed when he failed to finish at July’s PZM Rally Poland, was keen to end his 2016 campaign on a high and he raced into an impressive lead in Friday’s damp and foggy conditions, outclassing newly-crowned JWRC champion Simone Tempestini by 34.2s.
He pulled further clear on day two in his Citroën DS 3 R3T as Tempestini encountered front brake problems, before easing back on Sunday – but only after taking his 11th stage win of the weekend. Koci’s advantage at the end of the final stage in Brenig was 2m 05.0s.
“It’s been a perfect weekend, leading from the start to the end,” he said. ”Winning here and being second in the championship makes me happy. My non-finish in Poland was a bad moment but that’s the past and I am happy for this moment.”
Tempestini’s second place in Wales ensured he added the WRC 3 championship to his list of successes in 2016 after title rival, Michel Fabre, could only finish fifth in class.
Yohan Rossel, the young Frenchman who is backed by the FFSA, completed the JWRC podium in Wales. He was 2m 26.0s off Koci’s benchmark pace.
Vincent Dubert was the only other JWRC contender to reach the finish in Llandudno, but he was more than 40 minutes behind after losing time with an under-bonnet fire on Saturday afternoon.