WRC 2 in Spain:
Camilli shows Polo pace
Eric Camilli gave Volkswagen’s new WRC 2 challenger the perfect debut as he ended the opening leg of RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España with an 11.6sec lead over Kalle Rovanperä.
The Frenchman won three of the leg’s seven tests in his Polo R5 to ensure a memorable first day for the German manufacturer on its one-off WRC appearance.
Skoda Motorsport driver Rovanperä took two stage wins as he battled to second in a Fabia R5, passing the sister Polo of 2003 world champion Petter Solberg on the final test.
Solberg, making a return to WRC competition after a six-year absence, was fastest on SS4. But he couldn’t match his Finnish rival’s consistent pace and completed Friday’s route 8.6sec behind Rovanperä.
Newly-crowned WRC 2 champion Jan Kopecký was fourth and admitted he’d struggled to get the best out of his Fabia R5 on the fast gravel stages.
“I'm just missing some kind of loose experience. Turkey and Sardinia were both quite slow rallies compared to here. We'll see what time we can make back tomorrow when we move onto asphalt," he said.
Nil Solans was the highest-placed Spaniard on his home event, completing in fifth in his Ford Fiesta.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz also enjoyed an encouraging opening day in his Fiesta. The Pole couldn’t match the pace of the front-runners, but a clean run earned him sixth.
Citroën Racing suffered a disappointing day as both its drivers failed to finish in their C3 R5s. Stéphane Lefebvre retired from second with a technical issue, while Ole Christian Veiby was sidelined in SS7 with an electrical problem.
Lukasz Pieniazek also failed to reach the end of the leg after suffering a broken front-left wheel, while Toyota development driver Takamoto Katsuta , Pepe Lopez, and Marquito Bulacia also dropped out early, the latter with a broken right driveshaft.
Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.
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