JWRC Day 3 Winner at the last round in France, Alastair Fisher notched up a second consecutive victory as he prevailed in the FIA WRC Junior class at Wales Rally GB.
The podium was completed by Martin Koči and Henri Haapamaki.Stéphane Lefebvre won the FIA Junior WRC title, ahead of Alastair Fisher and Martin Koči*. He will drive a DS3 R5 in the FIA WRC2 championship next season!
Already assured of the FIA Junior WRC and FIA WRC3 titles*, Stéphane Lefebvre was competing at Wales Rally GB in a DS3 R5 in the WRC2 category. Alongside experienced co-driver Stéphane Prévot, he ended the event in eleventh place, after rejoining under Rally2 rules.
In their DS3 R3s, the seven crews competing in the final round of the FIA Junior WRC battled it out in the heart of the Welsh countryside. British driver Alastair Fisher, the Frenchman Quentin Giordano and the Slovakian Martin Koči were all still in contention to finish as runner-up in the championship.
On the opening stage, Alastair Fisher wasted no time in establishing an early lead. Winner of the last round in France, the Brit was the first out of the blocks here, beating Finnish newcomer Henri Haapamaki, Martin Koči, Quentin Giordano and Simone Tempestini.
And although Martin Koci responded on SS2, Alastair Fisher then claimed two further stage wins before the midday service period to put himself 13 seconds clear of Koči and 41 ahead of Tempestini. Haapamaki picked up two punctures, meaning he trailed the leader by over a minute.
In the afternoon, Alastair Fisher extended his lead. After stopping on a stage for a minute, Martin Koči dropped down to fourth place before going back on the attack. At the end of the first day of racing, Alastair Fisher was more than a minute clear of Henri Haapamaki, Martin Koci and Simone Tempestini, who were all bunched together, separated by less than six seconds.
Unfortunately, Quentin Giordano’s day came to a premature end. The Frenchman broke a wheel after a roll and had to rejoin under Rally2 regulations.
Alastair Fisher kept his rivals at bay throughout day two. With a lead of more than a minute, he kept an eye on the scrap for second between Martin Koči and Henri Haapamaki. The Slovakian and the Finn claimed almost all of the stage wins between them. However, a minor mistake by Haapamaki saw him drop down to fourth on Saturday evening, behind Fisher, Koči and Tempestini.
Third ahead of Sunday’s final leg, Simone Tempestini was quickly forced to retire due to a problem connecting the waste gate’s solenoid valve tube. Haapamaki thus inherited third position. The overall standings remained otherwise unchanged after the final day’s stages.
Alastair Fisher, leader from start to finish, secured the win ahead of Martin Koči, Henri Haapamaki, the Australian Molly Taylor, the Pole Aron Domzala and Quentin Giordano.
Thanks to his second consecutive win, Alastair Fisher ended the season as runner-up in the FIA Junior WRC, just one point behind the champion, Stéphane Lefebvre. With three podium finishes, including one win, Martin Koci ended the year in third position, ahead of Quentin Giordano.
France won the Nations Trophy, with Great Britain second and Slovakia third.
NEW EVENTS ON THE 2015 CALENDAR
Organised in conjunction with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, the FIA Junior WRC is set to change in 2015. A seven-event calendar will be offered to the teams, which must choose the six rounds at which they wish to score points.
The calendar will be made up of four rounds on gravel, two on tarmac and one mixed-surface event, to reflect more accurately the character of the World Rally Championship.
The FIA Junior WRC remains restricted to drivers aged under 28, competing in DS3 R3s equipped with the MAX kit that was homologated on 1 January 2014.
With the support of partners Total and Michelin, Citroën Racing will offer the winner a programme of six rallies in Europe in a DS3 R5, competing in the 2016 FIA WRC2 championship.
2015 FIA Junior WRC calendar (subject to approval by the FIA)
– 22/25 January – Rallye Monte-Carlo
– 21/24 May – Rally de Portugal
– 2/5 July – Rally Poland
– 30 July/2 August – Rally Finland
– 1/4 October – Rallye de France
– 22/25 October – Rally de España
– 12/15 November – Wales GB Rally
Alastair Fisher: “We achieved the target that we had set ourselves for this rally. We didn’t make any mistakes. That was the key to winning here in Wales. This 2014 season has been very positive. We’ve shown that we had the pace to win. It’s just a shame that we made a mistake in Portugal. But we’re very pleased to win in France and here at home, they have definitely been the highlights of this year. I hope I can keep improving next year; I feel I’m ready to step up to the FIA WRC2 championship.”
FINAL PROVISIONAL STANDINGS
1. Alastair Fisher / Gordon Noble 3:31:20.1
2. Martin Koci / Lukas Kostka +1:18.83. Henri Haapamaki / Marko Salminen +2:54.54. Molly Taylot / Seb Marshall +4:37.15. Aron Domzala / Szymon Gospodarczyk +6:11.86. Quentin Giordano / Valentin Sarreaud +38:37.7
Martin Koči, 7 (including 1 tied) – Alastair Fisher, 6 – Henri Haapamaki, 6 (including 1 tied) – Quentin Giordano, 3
SS1 to SS23 (finish): Alastair Fisher
FIA JUNIOR WRC STANDINGS (6/6)
1. Stéphane Lefebvre 93 points
2. Alastair Fisher 92 points
3. Martin Koči 76 points
4. Quentin Giordano 72 points
5. Christian Riedemann 46 points
6. Molly Taylor 35 points
7. Aron Domzala 32 points
8. Simone Tempestini 28 points
9. Eric Camilli and Federico Della Casa 18 points
10. Kornel Lukacs 16 points
11. Henri Haapamaki 15 points
12. Yohan Rossel 10 points
13. Jan Cerny 6 points
14. Panikos Polykarpou 2 points
1 France 193 points
2 Great Britain 92 points
3 Slovakia 76 points
4 Germany 46 points
5 Australia 35 points
6 Poland 32 points
7 Romania 28 points
8 Switzerland 18 points
9 Hungary 16 points
10 Finland 15 points
11 Czech Republic 6 points
12 Cyprus 2 points
* Subject to publication of the official results by the FIA