Nil Solans moved within touching distance of winning the FIA Junior WRC title in Spain on Friday.
Bonus points for winning two special stages in the opening leg of RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España mean Solans requires just one point to be guaranteed the crown. One more stage win from the remaining 13 speed tests will suffice.
Solans has already won the WRC 3 crown but had his hopes of sealing a second title today ended when he dropped 30sec with a puncture in his Ford Fiesta R2 in the last of the six predominantly gravel stages.
He headed Nicolas Ciamin for most of the day but the Frenchman moved [below] to the front when Solans punctured and ended with a 22.1sec lead.
“I’m trying to secure the points that I need for the title but also aiming for the prize drive that is on offer. I need to finish in a high overall position to do that so it’s a tricky balancing act,” said Solans.
Ciamin acknowledged the day proved harder than he thought. “It has been quite difficult to judge the pace because the stages were rougher than expected and it’s tricky to know how hard to push. I have to win as many stages as I can, but also preserve the car,” he said.
Terry Folb was 34.1sec off the lead in third, with Julius Tannery another minute adrift in fourth.
Dennis Rådström led after the opening stage but retired with damaged steering in SS5.