Debut victory for Kosciuszko in Sardinia Suzuki driver Michal Kosciuszko has taken his debut victory on the Rally d'Italia Sardegna, round three of the Junior World Rally Championship. The Pole was in contention for the victory from the very...
Debut victory for Kosciuszko in Sardinia
Suzuki driver Michal Kosciuszko has taken his debut victory on the Rally d'Italia Sardegna, round three of the Junior World Rally Championship. The Pole was in contention for the victory from the very start of the rally, having been involved in a close fight with Citroen driver Martin Prokop, which saw the pair trading seconds. At one point, the duo were separated by just half a second, but Kosciuszko managed to make his advantage stick over the final day, before Prokop encountered technical problems.
By contrast, Kosciuszko's Suzuki Swift Super 1600 was entirely reliable throughout the event, despite the rough conditions and unpredictable weather that made the stages particularly tricky for the two-wheel drive runners in the hotly-contested Junior World Rally Championship. The result has boosted Kosciuszko to second in the points standings, just eight points behind the leader Sebastien Ogier.
Once more, Kosciuszko's Swift, run by Suzuki Sport Europe, was faultless on the final day of the rally which saw the final stage run as a road section for the Junior runners and the Pole sealed a memorable first victory at the wheel of a Suzuki. The other Suzuki drivers were not quite as lucky. Jaan Molder, also run by Suzuki Sport Europe, was in a strong fifth before being forced into retirement from leg two with an oil leak. He re-joined under the super rally system today, setting fastest time on the penultimate stage, and eventually finishing ninth. Florian Niegel, in a Swift Super 1600 run by Suzuki Rallye Junior Team Germany, retired definitively on the opening stage of day two after rolling his car beyond repair.
News from Jaan Molder (Suzuki Swift n.32):
"Today was all about testing for the future, as it was always going to be almost impossible for me to score some points. Also it's hard to have the same motivation when you have retired. But it is always good to have time in the car, so today was not wasted. We can get some good experience for Finland, where the roads are quite similar to how they are back home in Estonia."
News from Michal Kosciuszko (Suzuki Swift n.35):
"It's been a fantastic rally and I am absolutely overjoyed to take my first Junior win! From the beginning my car was perfect: I think we had the best set-up in the service park. My only regret is that Martin Prokop had a problem on the final day, as I would have liked the fight to continue to the finish; but we had two days of really close competition and it was the most exciting rally of my career. Sometimes I was a bit too cautious, but we didn't have any big moments or punctures at all during the three days so it was the right decision. I'd like to thank all the Suzuki team: I don't think it is possible to have a better car in conditions like this."
News from Florian Niegel (Suzuki Swift n.43):
"It was obviously a frustrating rally for us, as by the second day we were reduced to being spectators rather than drivers, as the result of our accident. But looking on the positive side, we have been able to have a bit of time behind the wheel of the car on gravel, which will be vital for the future as I am still lacking in experience compared to the others."