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Sun 24 Apr 2022

Rossel secures dominant WRC2 win

Yohan Rossel confirmed his first-ever WRC2 victory after leading from start to finish at the Croatia Rally on Sunday.

Rossel, driving a Citroën C3 Rally2, set the pace from the off and built a solid advantage as several rivals hit trouble on the opening day. 

The reigning WRC3 champion carried the same flawless form all the way through Saturday’s second leg, where heavy rain and muddy cuts posed a severe tyre damage risk. Ahead of the final day, Rossel had 35.1sec in hand over long-term pursuant Nikolay Gryazin. 

When Gryazin dropped down the order with a poor tyre selection in the torrential rain on SS19, Rossel’s victory was virtually guaranteed. He cruised through the Wolf Power Stage to claim his first WRC2 triumph by 1min 00.2sec.

"After Monte, I worked very hard with the team (PH Sport) and this win is for them,” beamed Rossel.  

"I think the most important thing was to win here,” he continued. “The target is of course to try and win the championship, but there's still a long way to go. It's perfect to win on our second event."

There was a case of déjà vu when Kajetan Kajetanowicz, who finished runner-up to Rossel in the 2021 WRC3 championship, ended second behind his old foe. He, like Rossel, enjoyed a troublefree run in his Škoda Fabia Rally2 and overtook Gryazin on the penultimate blast. 

Emil Lindholm’s rally didn’t get off to the greatest of starts as he was plagued by intercom issues throughout the opening loop. 

The Finn, who was also driving a Fabia, managed to haul himself back up the order to complete the podium just 10.7sec behind Kajetanowicz, taking the spoils in WRC2 Junior as well as going second-fastest overall on SS19.  

A dejected Gryazin brought his Fabia home 36.6sec behind, followed by Chris Ingram's Fabia in fifth. The Briton also posted a top-three overall time on SS19, but ended 45.2sec down on Gryazin after punctures and a turbo problem had set him back on Friday. 

Stéphane Lefebvre overtook fellow C3 pilot Eric Camilli in the final test to round off the top six. Both drivers had the pace to be on the podium, but dropped time with punctures on Saturday.

M-Sport Ford driver Jari Huttunen failed to score any points after sliding off the road on Saturday evening, while Volkswagen Polo man Georg Linnamäe also stopped on day one. Grégoire Munster, the sole Hyundai i20 N Rally2 entrant, had a fraught weekend and bowed out on the final day.

Top 10 - WRC2 Standings
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