Nil Solans held an early advantage in the FIA Junior WRC at Rally Italia Sardegna on Friday after setting four fastest times to build a 36.7sec lead.
Spaniard Solans, winner of the opening round, overcame a damaged rear axle during this morning’s rough road speed tests to hold a slender 1.4sec advantage at mid-leg service. A solid run through this afternoon’s stages enabled him to extend that.
“We haven’t been pushing very hard because it will be a long rally and we need to be careful with the car as the stages are pretty rough,” said Solans. “Everything is fine, we’ve had a good day and just concentrated on trying to have a clean run.”
Second is Frenchman Terry Folb who had a mistake-free drive to post two fastest times. Podium finisher in the opening round in Corsica, Folb came here to challenge for victory and aims to keep the pressure on Solans tomorrow.
“We’ve had quite a good day and the first pass through the stages wasn’t as bad as I thought. It’s still a long way to go but we will just concentrate on keeping the pace up and protecting the car as I think tomorrow’s stages will be tougher,” said Folb.
Nicolas Ciamin was third, just 8.6sec adrift of Folb, and another crew to top the time-sheets. Dennis Rådström was fourth with Julius Tannert the last man to complete the entire day in fifth.
Irishman Rob Duggan won two special stages as he climbed to third, but a collision with a rock damaged his Ford Fiesta R2’s rear axle and he retired.
Miko Niinemae from Estonia was also sidelined after hitting a tree while Dillon van Way stopped with a damaged oil sump.