Sun 05 Jun 2022

Gryazin takes WRC2 victory in Italy

Nikolay Gryazin clinched WRC2 victory at Rally Italia Sardegna, navigating Sunday’s four final stages error-free to stand atop the podium.

The Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo driver moved into the lead on Saturday morning's final test when defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen was forced to retire his identical Fabia from the lead with engine issues. By day’s end Gryazin had developed a comfortable 44.9sec lead over Jan Solans.

That gap enabled him to ease off on Sunday morning and focus on not making any errors. He eventually won by 28.0sec as well as finishing eighth overall, with Solans remaining his closest challenger.

Solans also finished the weekend with his best-ever WRC2 finish while bringing his Citroën C3 Rally2 home just 5.1sec clear of the epic battle that was unfolding behind him for third.

Before Sunday, just 2.3sec divided Chris Ingram and Jari Huttunen, who suffered two punctures earlier in the rally. Huttunen struck first in his Fiesta Rally2 by setting the quickest time on Cala Flumini before following up with the third-fastest time on the first pass of Sassari – Argentiera.

His advantage continued to grow and by the time the Finn crossed the Wolf Power Stage finish line, his podium position was secured by 5.8sec from Fabia man Ingram, who also ended third in the WRC2 Junior category behind Gryazin and Solans. 

Rounding out the top five with an impressive debut was FIA Junior WRC champion Sami Pajari, who finished just 1min 38.5sec off the leading pace in another Škoda. 

Former WRC regular Freddy Loix also had reason to celebrate as he claimed victory in the WRC2 Masters category with a gap of 5min 40.6sec over second-placed Jourdan Serderidis.

After round five, Citroën pilot Yohan Rossel continues to lead the drivers’ championship ahead of Gryazin, who has moved 11 points ahead of third-placed Mikkelsen.

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