Fri 21 Apr 2023

Masterful Rossel dominates in WRC2

Yohan Rossel left his WRC2 opponents floundering on Friday at Croatia Rally to build a convincing lead over Nikolay Gryazin in the premier support category.

Rossel, who is starting his first event since Rallye Monte-Carlo in January, signalled his return to the series by punching in a trio of fastest stage times aboard his Citroën C3 Rally2.

The car received a number of technical upgrades ahead of this rally and those tweaks seem to be suiting the Frenchman. He cleared the day without errors and carried a sizeable 29.9sec advantage over Gryazin’s Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 at close of play.

“It has not been easy, but it’s been a good day for us,” said Rossel, who held second in the championship before the rally. “We will see how it goes tomorrow.”

Rossel’s compatriot Nicolas Ciamin also showed good form on his first FIA World Rally Championship start since 2021. The 25-year-old, who drives a Volkswagen Polo, completed the podium just 7.7sec behind Gryazin after notching up two stage wins.

More than half a minute back in fourth overall, Citroën youngster Alejandro Cachón is on course to secure a personal best result ahead of Sami Pajari, who ended the day fifth in a Škoda.

But Pajari cannot afford to relax as he has team-mate and defending champion Emil Lindholm just eight-tenths of a second behind. The Finn was forced to carry out road-side repairs when his Fabia’s transmission linkage failed, costing precious time in SS2.

Gus Greensmith, winner of the previous round in Mexico, sits eighth after stopping to change a wheel in SS2. His former M-Sport Ford colleague Adrien Fourmaux also dropped time with a throttle issue, while Grégoire Munster retired after crashing his Fiesta.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM