Sun 12 May 2024

Solans shades McErlean to net Portugal WRC2 win

Jan Solans got the edge over rival Josh McErlean on Sunday to claim his maiden WRC2 victory at Vodafone Rally de Portugal.

The Spaniard, co-driven by Rodrigo Sanjuan, topped the standings by 8.0sec as Sunday’s final leg commenced, but came under pressure as the charging McErlean won the opening two stages to steal a 0.1sec lead.

Solans trounced McErlean by 6.5sec in the penultimate test at Cabeceiras de Basto, a feat which ultimately proved decisive in securing him the victory. Despite McErlean’s best efforts, the Škoda Fabia driver could only reduce the gap to 3.2sec in the Fafe finale.

Solans’ triumph was his first at this level and also the first for Toyota’s GR Yaris Rally2 car, which was launched earlier this year.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Solans smiled. “My first win, and also the first win for the Toyota Rally2. It’s been an incredible weekend and I just want to say thank you to all of the Philippines (sponsor) for giving me this opportunity to live my dream.”

Yohan Rossel looked set to finish on the podium despite stopping to change a wheel on Saturday. However, the Citroën C3 star fell to fifth, behind Laura Joona and Fabrizio Zaldivar, this morning after incurring two one-minute time penalties: one for a breach of safety protocol and the other for booking out of parc fermé early.

Despite Rossel’s frustrations, non-finishes for title contenders Oliver Solberg and Gus Greensmith meant that he moved 12 points clear at the top of the championship standings.

Solans also scored maximum points in WRC2 Challenger while Jean Michel Raoux won the WRC Masters Cup 

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