Rally d'Italia Sardegna
Kaur clocks back to back wins in WRC Academy Cup in Sardinia
Estonian driver Egon Kaur clocked his second victory, accompanied by co-driver Eric Lepikson, in his Ford Fiesta R2 on the second round of the FIA WRC Academy Cup at Rally d’Italia Sardegna. On an incredibly challenging event of high-attrition, Kaur’s caution paid dividends as he confidently led eight Pirelli-shod Fiesta R2s to the finish line. The result strengthens his lead in the WRC Academy Cup points table to 32 ahead of second-placed Miguel Baldoni (ARG). Kaur’s 25 victory points here were also boosted by 5 points for stage wins on SS4-8.
Day one was a baptism of fire for the WRC Academy crews, who are all competing with limited WRC gravel experience. And the opening loop of stages on Day One claimed no less than 11 crews as they fell victim to the conditions.
Craig Breen (IRL) took the early lead winning the first two stages, but a rock which was embedded in the road in SS4 which had been exposed by the frontrunners caught out the Irishman, damaging his sump and truncated his rally for the day. He was not alone, however, as seven others succumbed to the same rock.
This win was really unexpected stuff but we finally got here and it feels great.
With six of the then-top 10 sidelined by the end of SS4, this paved the way for Jan Černý (CZE) to adopt the lead. However a broken steering arm for the Czech driver on SS5 soon saw him also sidelined, making way for Baldoni to snatch the top spot of the leaderboard until SS6. Unfortunately he damaged a wheel on a rock in SS6 and Christian Riedemann’s (DEU) cautious approach saw him bring his R2 to overnight parc ferme in the lead, 8.9 seconds ahead of second-placed Fredrik Åhlin (SWE).
Sadly Riedemann’s lead was quickly stolen from him when his driveshaft broke on the start line of SS9, the first stage of Day Two, handing the lead to Åhlin. And throughout the final day, Kaur, Baldoni and Åhlin successfully defended the top three podium positions respectively.
1st – EGON KAUR (EST) – “This win was really unexpected stuff but we finally got here and it feels great. We really had to preserve the car but I really can’t complain. The next event is Finland and I would love to win there too!”
2nd – MIGUEL BALDONI (ARG) – “It was a really tough rally but I’m so happy that I was able to stay out of trouble and bring the car to the finish in one piece. We’re second in the Cup standings and really happy about it. We hope to do a good rally in Finland as well.”
3rd – FREDRIK ÅHLIN (SWE) – “That was the worst conditions I've ever seen! I've pushed the car to the limit and broken everything I could, but luckily I managed every time to get the car into service. I think I got my luck back from Portugal where we managed to stay out of trouble but we caught a mechanical failure.”