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Sat 12 Nov 2022

WRC2 Championship within grasp for Lindholm

Emil Lindholm is on the cusp of WRC2 Championship glory after building a 47.6sec lead over Sami Pajari at FORUM8 Rally Japan on Saturday.

Lindholm reeled off four stage wins to start Saturday’s proceedings, putting to bed any suggestions the Finn would take a conservative approach in his Škoda Fabia Evo Rally2. 

He requires just nine points from this event to take the WRC2 title from defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen, and, at the moment, is on course to score at least 25. 

Starting the day 8.4sec down on overnight leader Sami Pajari with third overall, Lindholm wasted little time in storming to the front - climbing to the top after going 14sec quicker than Pajari through the first run of Nukata Forest.

By midday service, Lindholm’s advantage had grown to 11.3sec and, when Teemu Suninen incurred a 50sec penalty for a late-check out after experiencing engine troubles in his Hyundai i20 N, he was comfortably clear of second-placed Pajari.

"Today has been fine, we have just enjoyed these Japanese stages," reflected Lindholm at the end of Saturday's final stage. "It is rewarding when you get the driving right. 

"Tomorrow is another day. I am not thinking about anything else right now."

Suninen spent the afternoon trying to claw back time but settled for fourth - just 2.2sec down on Grégoire Munster’s similar car - at close of play. Former F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen rounds out the top five 2min 1.7sec back from the lead.

  • Full coverage from FORUM8 Rally Japan is available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.