Zawada takes battling ERC Junior Under 27 lead

Zawada takes battling ERC Junior Under 27 lead

26/08/2017 at 22:15Updated 26/08/2017 at 22:27

Aleks Zawada has delivered a rapid – and battling – performance to lead the ERC Junior Under 27 division in his MSZ Racing Opel ADAM.

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Hit first by an engine idling issue and then a gear selection glitch, the Polish driver recovered from a high-speed off on stage eight to head ERC Junior U27 rookie Julian Wagner with Filip Mareš third.

The ACCR Czech Team driver was eight seconds off the lead when he picked up a puncture on stage eight. Simon Wagner and Chris Ingram hit the same rock and also suffered front-left punctures. Wagner is fifth behind Czech Domink Brož with Ingram languishing in eighth following his SS1 exit due to a broken wishbone.

Buǧra Banaz is sixth for Castrol Ford Team Turkey with Tamara Molinaro leading the ERC Ladies’ Trophy in seventh. After stopping to change a broken wheel on SS1, Catie Munnings overcame early brake problems to finish leg one in ninth place.

Jari Huttunen was 1.2s behind Zawada in second when he rolled out on stage four. The Opel driver is due to restart on day two.

“It’s been a crazy day but I’ve never felt as lucky as I do right now,” said Zawada, who also heads the ERC3 category.

While her R3-specification rules her out of ERC Junior points, Emma Falcón is battling Molinaro for ERC Ladies’ Trophy honours. The Canary Islander is 6.1s behind her Italian rival after nine stages.