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Martin KOCI dominates in Finland

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Leader from start to finish, Martin Koci secured his first win in the FIA Junior WRC at Rally Finland


- Leader from start to finish, Slovakian Martin Koci secured his first win in the FIA Junior WRC at Rally Finland.


- The Frenchman Quentin Giordano and the Australian Molly Taylor joined him on the podium of the season’s fastest event.


- Eighth overall, Stéphane Lefebvre continues to lead the championship standings.


 

Nine crews lined up at the start of Rally Finland after Christian Riedemann was forced to withdraw with tendonitis. Martin Koci got off to a flying start on the very first stage, held on Thursday afternoon, finishing ahead of Alastair Fisher and Stéphane Lefebvre. The Slovakian extended his lead on Jouhtikylä and Lankamaa 2 before Lefebvre hit back with the fastest time on Harju.


At the end of day one, Martin Koci already held a lead of almost half a minute over Stéphane Lefebvre. Quentin Giordano rounded off the top three, a minute back, ahead of Simone Tempestini, Kornel Lukacs, Molly Taylor and Federico Della Casa. Alastair Fisher (gearbox) and Aron Domzala (accessory drive belt) didn’t make it to the end of the day.


On Friday, Martin Koci picked up where he had left off on Thursday, with three consecutive stage wins, whilst the championship leader Stéphane Lefebvre went off on SS7. With an overall lead in excess of a minute, the Slovakian was able to start controlling his pace, allowing Alastair Fisher – who had rejoined under Rally2 rules – to show his turn of speed. Kornel Lukacs went off in the morning, spelling the end of his rally.


Although Koci remained the clear leader, Simone Tempestini continued to push and grabbed second position from Quentin Giordano on SS11. At the end of day two, Martin Koci was over two minutes ahead of Tempestini and Giordano. Federico Della Casa and Molly Taylor rounded off the top five.


Despite being a long way back in the overall standings, Alastair Fisher and Stéphane Lefebvre lit up the third day, as they shared the stage wins. Only Simone Tempestini managed to muscle in on the battle at the front, but he went off when running in second position.


Taking advantage of Federico Della Casa’s retirement, Molly Taylor moved up into third place overall behind Martin Koci and Quentin Giordano.


Martin Koci reached the end of day three more than a minute ahead of Giordano on Saturday evening. Meanwhile, Molly Taylor lost time due to a damaged wheel rim on SS22, allowing Alastair Fisher to narrow the gap to third place.


However, the short final leg saw no significant changes to the standings. Martin Koci went on to win ahead of Quentin Giordano and Molly Taylor. After rejoining under Rally2 rules, Alastair Fisher, Simone Tempestini, Aron Domzala, Stéphane Lefebvre and Federico de la Casa completed the final standings.

Stéphane Lefebvre remains in first place in the FIA Junior WRC standings, four points ahead of Martin Koci. Quentin Giordano and Alastair Fisher come next, 22 and 26 points behind the leader. In the Nations Trophy, France continues to top the standings, ahead of Slovakia, the United Kingdom and Germany.


Rally Finland also saw the Finnish pair of Teemu Suninen and Juha-Pekka Jauhiainen win the WRC3 category in their DS3 R3.


The next event will be held on tarmac roads at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland on 21-24 August.


 

FINAL PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS


1. Martin Koci / Lukas Kostka 3:31:59.7

2. Quentin Giordano / Valentin Sarreaud +1:20.1

3. Molly Taylor / Sebastian Marshall +15:16.0

4. Alastair Fisher / Gordon Noble +15:50.4

5. Simone Tempestini / Dorin Pulpea +17:15.3


 

FIA JUNIOR WRC STANDINGS (3/6)


1. Stéphane Lefebvre 56 points

2. Martin Koci 52 points

3. Quentin Giordano 34 points

4. Alastair Fisher 30 points

5. Christian Riedemann 28 points

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