FSTi Rally Poland summary

Impressive Anglade sets new FSTi record with victory in Poland Germany's Patrick Anglade (21) set a new record for the best overall finish by a GpN Fiesta ST in a WRC event as he took his second successive FSTi victory at Rally Poland to ...

Impressive Anglade sets new FSTi record with victory in Poland

Germany's Patrick Anglade (21) set a new record for the best overall finish by a GpN Fiesta ST in a WRC event as he took his second successive FSTi victory at Rally Poland to stretch his lead at the top of the FSTi driver standings. Anglade and co-driver Bjorn Rohm (29) beat the previous record by one place finishing 24th overall. They beat their nearest rivals, Team Abu Dhabi driver Bader Al Jabri (24) and co-driver Stephen McAuley, after producing an impressively mature performance on the challenging Polish stages.

Rally Poland was a great event for Team Abu Dhabi as Majed Al Shamsi (29) and co-driver Alan Harryman joined team mate Al Jabri on the podium, with third team member Ahmed Al Mansoori (22) and co-driver Killian Duffy (26) finishing in fifth despite problems on the first day which lost them 15 minutes.

Castrol Ford Team Turkiye driver Burcu Cetinkaya (AGE) and co-driver Bahadir Gucenmez just missed out on a podium place, taking fourth in their first outing in FSTi this season. Team-mate and defending FSTi champion Emre Yurdakul (26) had his challenge undermined by electrical problems on Day 2, finishing seventh. Meanwhile, Russia's Denis Grodetskiy and co-driver Safiony Lotko built on their strong performance in Sardinia with a sixth-place finish.

The rally started brightly for Yurdakul and co-driver Burak Erdener who took first blood on the opening Super Special Stage on Thursday night edging out Anglade on the specially constructed 2.5km course, with Al Mansoori in third place. As the real action got underway on Friday morning on the fast-flowing forest roads to the east of Mikolajki, the battle between the reigning champion and the young German continued.

Yurdakul took victory on SS2 ahead of Anglade and Cetinkaya. But it was Anglade who won SS3 ahead of the Turk with Grodetskiy grabbing a magnificent third despite suffering power-steering problems.

The battle between Yurdakul and Anglade raged on over the second pass of the three-stage loop on Friday afternoon. Anglade took victory on the opening stage ahead of Yurdakul and Al Shamsi, but Yurdakul fought back on the next stage, finishing ahead of Anglade and Cetinkaya. With Anglade suffering intermittent electrical problems on the final stage of the day, Yurdakul seized the initiative and took another stage win ahead of Al Shamsi and Al Jabri to end Day 1 with a 36.6 second lead.

Day 2 saw the lead change hands several times in what was turning out to be the most closely fought round of the FSTi so far this season. Anglade took the first stage win ahead of Al Shamsi and Grodetskiy as Yurdakul suffered from an electrical problem which plunged him down the field. The result moved Al Shamsi into the overall lead. Grodetskiy and co-driver Safiony Lotko put their opening day's power-steering problems behind them to take their first stage win on SS9. Anglade's victory on the final stage of the morning moved him into the overall lead with Al Mansoori and Al Jabri following close behind.

With the stages badly rutted from the first pass it turned out to be a tough section for all of the FSTi crews, Yurdakul in particular who retired for the day immediately after service with crews unable to trace the electrical fault within the 30 minutes permitted. Al Shamsi won SS11 with Anglade second and Cetinkaya third. However, with the German suffering a puncture on SS12, Grodetskiy took the stage victory with Al Shamsi second and Al Mansoori third. Anglade got back to winning ways on the final stage of the day coming in ahead of Al Mansoori and Al Jabri to end Day 2 to hold the overnight lead.

Yurdakul returned to the competition under SupeRally conditions on Sunday morning, but it was Anglade who dominated proceedings despite the exceptionally slippery conditions caused by heavy overnight rain in the Polish lake district. The German took victory ahead of Al Shamsi and Al Jabri on SS14 and followed that up with second place just behind Al Shamsi on the short 15.11km Tros stage.

Another victory on SS16 cemented Anglade's position, with Yurdakul second and Al Shamsi third. There was excitement on the penultimate stage as Al Jabri suffered a suspension problem which allowed his team-mate Al Jabri in second to close to less than seven seconds In addition the leader Anglade slid off the road at high speed, getting beached on the stage, however he was lucky to be recovered by spectators and only lose 30s and make it to the Super Special Stage to take a final stage victory ahead of Yurdakul with Al Jabri just holding off the challenge of his fast-charging team mate Al Shamsi.

FSTi Round 3: Driver-by-driver

Patrick Anglade (GER) -- The young German's record-breaking victory was made all the more remarkable as he overcame engine problems on the first day. During SS2 and SS5 his engine frequently cut out as a result of the impact of fast jumps, losing around 40 seconds. He lost time behind the ailing Fiesta or Yurdakul on the opening stage of Day 2 and a puncture on SS12 lost him more time. His 'off' on the penultimate stage could have cost him the rally, but he maintained his composure to take the win.

Bader Al Jabri (UAE) -- Another consistent performance by Al Jabri means that he remains ahead in the battle of the Team Abu Dhabi drivers in the championship. But his second-place was seriously threatened in the closing stages of the rally as broken suspension on the last stage gave his team mate Al Shamsi the chance to catch him.

Majed Al Shamsi (UAE) -- Constant pressure on the leading drivers was rewarded with a podium finish. A suspension problem on day one was fixed by the team and a puncture on SS13 lost the Emirati driver four minutes, although he recovered well to close the gap on Al Jabri to just 1.7 seconds on the last stage.

Burcu Cetinkaya (TUR) -- Had a great start to the rally picking up a number of third places on the opening stages but got beached on the last stage of the day to slip down the field. The Castrol Ford Team Turkiye driver struggled in the rough conditions on Day 2, sliding off the road twice but she showed flashes of speed in between those problems. Day 3 saw her car struggle through two stages with only fifth gear available.

Ahmed Al Mansoori (UAE) -- Again showed his raw pace producing some stunning stage times over the weekend. A power-steering problem on the opening day lost him 15 minutes, but the young Emirati coped well with the high-speed stages.

Denis Grodetskiy (RUS) -- A power-steering issue on Day 1 lost Grodetskiy valuable seconds. A brush with a rock on Day 2 pulled the rear beam out of the body mount on the Russian's Fiesta ST, but his team were able to fix the problem and he continued on to take a confident sixth place.

Emre Yurdakul (TUR) -- Electrical problems on Day 2 ended the Turk's hopes of taking victory as he aims to defend his title. There is no doubt of the Turk's pace after a series of impressive stage wins which will boost his confidence ahead of Rally Finland next month.

FSTi winner Patrick Anglade (21) from Germany said:

"It feels very good to have won Rally Poland and I am delighted to have set the new FSTi record for highest overall position on a WRC event. I made a mistake on SS17 which could have ended my rally, but everything else was perfect. I missed the left-hand corner and got stuck in a ditch and spectators had to push me out. It was really a heart-stopping moment. But now I am really looking forward to going to Rally Finland as the championship leader and renewing my rivalry with Craig Breen."

-credit: fsti

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Series RALLY , WRC

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