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Sun 23 Oct 2022

Joona soars to WRC3 glory

Finnish youngster Lauri Joona was on top of the world on Sunday afternoon after clinching the 2022 WRC3 championship with victory at RallyRACC - Rally de España.

FIA Junior WRC regular Joona was in a direct shootout for the title in the all-Ford Fiesta Rally3 field against the Czech Republic’s Jan Černý. The pair arrived in Spain with identical records, setting up a colossal finale to the season.

Černý appeared to have a 2.5sec lead going into Sunday but it was overturned late on Saturday evening when the Czech driver was dealt a 10sec penalty for a late check-in to Saturday’s final stage.

This gave the advantage back to his rival and the Finn did not flinch, winning two of Sunday's closing speed tests to take the win by just 9.0sec.

“We made a mistake with the tyre choice yesterday," opined a dejected Černý on Sunday afternoon. "There are a lot of small things…really frustrating.

"We tried to everything before the event. When you want to fight for the title you need to be 100 percent ready, not 99. We thought it was going to rain, we were on the soft tyres, not good.”

Joona on the other hand was smiling from ear-to-ear and reflecting on some good fortune, namely the final stage of Saturday morning's loop being red flagged when he was nursing a broken driveshaft. 

"It was a big relief we didn’t have to drive that stage,” reflected Joona. “I think we would have had to go through in three wheel drive and we would have lost 20sec.

"Of course our main target was Junior WRC but when we realised we had a possibility to be world champion in this series, we put our focus here.

"It was a risk coming to Spain where I do not have too much experience on Tarmac, but it has worked."

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