Rally2, Rally4, Historic Rally - Spain hold narrow lead as Italy and France dominate

Rally2, Rally4, Historic Rally - Spain hold narrow lead as Italy and France dominate

After a morning charge by Team Spain in Rally4, the leading duo of Oscar Palomo / Rodrigo Sanjuan started the second loop of the day in positive fashion by extending their lead to 11 seconds with victory on SS4 over their chasing rivals, Team Italy. 

The latter - with their pairing of Roberto Daprà / Luca Guglielmetti - then swiftly hit back at their fellow Peugeot 208 rivals with a brace of stage victories to ramp up the pressure at the head of the times, trimming the gap to a mere 0.4s heading into the seventh and last stage of the afternoon at Circuit Paul Ricard.

The Special Stage was equally as nail-biting between the top two nations, and it was Team Spain that broke their rivals’ run with a narrow stage triumph to take a slender 1.1s lead into Saturday’s fight for the medals. As they were in the morning, third place was held into Saturday by Team Türkiye and the flying Ali Turkkan / Ahmet Burak Erdener in their Ford Fiesta, now 18s clear of Team Portugal’s Ricardo Sousa / Luis Marques (Skoda Fabia). 

Rally2 action ended with a more comprehensive leader on Friday as Team France won three more stages in the afternoon, Mathieu Arzeno / Romain Roche taking a healthy 41s lead into the next day in their Skoda Fabia over Team Spain’s José Maria López / Borja Rozada - who ended the day with victory at Circuit Paul Ricard on the Super Special Stage under darkness.

Spain therefore hold onto second place but with only a seven-second gap in hand over the ever-closing Volkswagen Polo GTI of Team Estonia, as Georg Linnamäe / James Michael Morgan battled early understeer issues to fight back into the heart of the medal positions.

Historic Rally continues to be dominated by Team Italy and the venomous Audi Quattro of Andrea Zivian / Nicola Arena, as they made it seven stage wins from seven to confirm their place at the top of the leaderboard by an ever-extending margain of 1m01s.

Team Czech Republic were once again the best of the rest with a strong showing throughout the afternoon by Vojtěch Štajf / Vladimir Zelinka in their Opel Kadett, while Team Spain settle further into third place with Antonio Sainz / David de la Puente in their Porsche 911 SC - albeit now 2m35s behind the rally leader. A fine showing by Team Germany’s Siegfried Mayr / Renate Mayr kept them fourth after beating Team Spain on SS5, the top five rounded out by Team UK’s Tim Jones and Steve Jones in their Chrysler Sunbeam.

Seven more stages will conclude the action in the three Rallying disciplaines on Saturday, with the final Super Special Stage of the weekend taking place at Circuit Paul Ricard at 19:20.