Junior WRC stays with Citroën
Details revealed about 2016 season
Gilbert, who secured the title at the previous round in Corsica, came out on top but only 10.9sec split the pair after eight predominantly gravel stages in the Tarragona hills, south of Barcelona.
The Frenchman led Ole Christian Veiby until the Norwegian crashed. Tempestini took up the challenge and three consecutive stage wins enabled the Italian to close to within 3.8sec.
But a third fastest time of the event for Gilbert in the final stage enabled him to end the leg with a 10.9sec advantage, despite a spin in SS6 and a slow puncture in the following test.
“I’m not really happy with my day, I’m not 100 per cent confident,” said Gilbert. “The pace notes are not as good as on the other events. I felt I drove too carefully, too defensive.”
Terry Folb was third, 2min 42.8sec off the lead, despite losing time in Veiby’s dust after he crashed.
Mohammed Al Mutawaa, Federico Della Casa and Pierre-Louis Loubet rounded off the top six, Loubet struggling with an electrical issue and Della Casa suffering a broken starter motor. All are in Citroën’s DS 3 R3-MAX cars.
All Junior WRC drivers are also entered in the WRC 3 championship which Gilbert leads. However, his advantage was reduced to five points from Andrea Crugnola after stewards yesterday withdrew all points scored by the Juniors at the previous round in Corsica.
This followed an investigation at which each of the DS 3 cars was found to have used a non-homologated water pump at the French fixture. The Junior WRC points are unaffected.