Wednesday | 11 Nov 2015

Protasov and Al-Kuwari meet in WRC 2 duel

Yurii Protasov and Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari will go head-to-head for the runners-up position in WRC 2 at Wales Rally GB this week.

Nasser Al-Attiyah clinched the title for a second season in Spain last month, but the other two podium places remain up for grabs and the two Ford Fiesta RRC drivers will fight it out in the muddy forests.

Protasov (top) holds a 14 point lead over Al-Kuwari (bottom). The permutations are many, but second in Wales for the Ukraine pilot will ensure him of second in the championship.

Their hopes have been eased by Skoda’s decision to withdraw Pontus Tidemand after the Swede’s title bid ended in Spain. It has also withdrawn Jan Kopecký, who acted as Tidemand’s ‘minder’ there.

Behind the podium protagonists, there are plenty of other contenders for a top finish at this final round.

Craig Breen has good experience of Wales and has shown strong pace in his Peugeot 208 T16, while Eyvind Brynildsen returns for the first time since Finland. His chances are boosted by his first appearance in the championship-winning Skoda Fabia R5.

Eric Camilli could secure a top six championship finish in a Fiesta R5, young Finn Teemu Suninen will hope to convert his undoubted pace into a top result in a Fabia S2000 and Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy runner-up Tom Cave steps up to a Fiesta R5.

Jari Ketomaa will not start and his place is taken by Peru’s Nicolas Fuchs.

The outcome of the Production Cup title within WRC 2 will also be decided. Leader Max Rendina, fellow Italian Gianluca Linari and Joan Carchat can all claim the crown.

Rendina has completed his nominated rounds but is entered as a co-driver, with regular partner Emanuele Inglesi listed as the driver. Linari is unlikely to start, co-driver Nicola Arena writing on his Facebook page that the bonnet of their Subaru Impreza had been forced open and sand tipped into the engine, making it ‘unusable’.

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