Ole Christian Veiby goes into Sunday’s final leg of Orlen 74th Rally Poland with a comfortable advantage in WRC 2 over championship leader Pontus Tidemand.
The 21-year-old Norwegian headed his Scandinavian rival by 63.3sec after Saturday’s penultimate leg in northern Poland. Both are at the wheel of Skoda Fabia R5s.
Veiby extended his narrow advantage to almost 18sec before two punctures saw the contest swing firmly in his direction.
Both drivers collected flat tyres in this afternoon’s 14.75km Goldap speed test. While Veiby’s rear right puncture cost 30sec, Tidemand’s front left deflation cost more than a minute and Veiby’s advantage soared over the minute mark.
“It’s a shame that me and Pontus both got punctures on the previous stage. Since then it was all about driving around every stone. It’s been a good fight and to be beating Pontus is something I am very proud of,” said Veiby.
Tidemand conceded his hopes of securing a fifth consecutive category win were slim. “The fight is over now, we just need to get through. If we can manage to take second place here it would be good for the championship,” he said.
Quentin Gilbert was a lonely third in another Fabia R5. The Frenchman had differential problems this afternoon and trailed Tidemand by more than 2min 30sec but had a similar amount in hand over Mexico’s Benito Guerra.
Suspension problems for Guerra allowed Yoann Bonato to move ahead in his Citroën DS 3 R5, but Guerra regained fourth with a narrow 2.0sec advantage to carry into Sunday. Wojciech Chuchala completed the top six in a Ford Fiesta R5.
Jaroslaw Koltun retired after an early-morning accident in a liaison section while fellow Pole Lukas Pieniazek stopped with electrical problems in the opening stage. Fabio Andolfi crashed his Hyundai i20 R5 but the Italian was able to continue.