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Thu 16 May 2024

What Portugal victory means to WRC2 star Jan Solans

Jan Solans’ WRC2 victory at last week’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal held significance for several reasons – and not just for the 26-year-old himself.

Solans emerged victorious at the end of a thrilling fixture within the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support category, which saw the downfall of title contenders Oliver Solberg and Gus Greensmith. The lead changed hands a remarkable 12 times, with Solans crossing the finish line just 3.2sec ahead of fellow youngster Josh McErlean.

In addition to clinching his maiden victory, Solans became the first Spanish driver to win a round of WRC2 and he also secured the inaugural triumph for Toyota’s GR Yaris Rally2 car, launched at the beginning of the year.

“It’s been absolutely amazing,” he told WRC.com. “We have been working so long to achieve a result like this, and it’s very important because it’s the first win for the Toyota Rally2 car and also I am the first Spaniard to win in WRC2.

“At the end, the relief was so incredible. We knew that it would be a really tough week, and the guys at the front were absolutely flying. Sometimes the risks that they were taking was so high, but we were consistent. We didn’t make any mistakes and, at the end, we got the result.”

Portugal marked the Toyota’s first WRC outing on gravel. Speaking highly of the car, he continued: “We’re getting used to the car. It was its first WRC event on gravel and we have been doing some improvements to the car, and also from my side I am learning as a driver.

“The car is very strong and it was good fun to drive it on these kinds of roads. This rally can be very, very rough and the car has been amazing.”

Solans, who is co-driven by Rodrigo Sanjuan, will continue his campaign at Rally Italia Sardegna later this month (30 May – 2 June) before finalising his future plans.

“We will be in Sardinia for sure,” he said, “and then most probably in Greece. We are also thinking about Latvia, so you will see me in more rallies.

“I think I need a bit more experience and a bit more speed [to challenge for the title], but the consistency is there, so let’s see what it brings.”