FPAK’s Pedro Antunes leads ERC3 Junior on home event

FPAK’s Pedro Antunes leads ERC3 Junior on home event

21/03/2019 at 20:19Updated 21/03/2019 at 20:26

FPAK Portugal Team ERC’s junior prodigy Pedro Antunes leads his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship in the ERC3 Junior class, topping the Rally Azores order by 3.8s.

Antunes made a great start by winning the opening Coroa da Mata test by 3.2s but is being charged down by Saintéloc Junior Team’s new ERC3 Junior recruit for 2019, Sindre Furuseth. A decision to take soft tyres benefitted Antunes on SS1 but by the end of the next stage, his front tyres were worn out.

Furuseth won SS2 to move past Rally Team Spain’s Efrén Llarena for second place, building a 2.8s advantage of his fellow PEUGEOT 208 R2 rival in third. Though he dropped back, Llarena is still very much in the lead battle, only 6.6s behind Antunes.

Yoann Rossel is fourth in ERC3 but the PEUGEOT Rally Academy driver is not eligible for ERC3 Junior, so the first of the two ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team drivers Elias Lundberg in fifth place is also fourth in ERC3 Junior.

It was a show of perseverance from Lundberg, who was driving through illness to finish the day only 0.7s ahead of reigning Junior British Rally Champion Steve Røkland, the latter hitting a bank and losing time on SS2.

Team Stengg Motorsport’s Simon Wagner is sixth in ERC3 Junior, running through SS3 with a puncture and with the bootlid of his Opel ADAM R2 wide open.

ACCR Czech Rally Team pair Erik Cais and Dominic Brož are seventh and eighth in ERC3 Junior, with Team Romo’s Roman Schwedt and the third ACCR-backed car of Jan Talaš completing the ERC3 Junior top 10.

Grégoire Munster is P11 on his ERC3 Junior debut in the second ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team car, while Sean Johnston (Saintéloc Junior Team) and Catie Munnings (PEUGEOT Rally Academy) bringing up the rear in ERC3.

ERC3 newcomer Dmitriy Myachin’s debut was short-lived, rolling his TBRacing-prepared 208 on the rally-opening Coroa da Mata stage and retiring.