J-WRC: Portugal Junior glory for young star Abbring
"It was hard to push to the maximum"
Kevin Abbring has cruised to victory in the Junior World Rally Championship division in Portugal at the wheel of a Renault Clio R3.
Dutchman Abbring and Belgian co-driver Erwin Mombaerts, started the final day of the event with a lead of almost five minutes, which they inherited from Aaron Burkart when the German went off the road on Saturday.
The result means Abbring and Burkart - who won the season opener in Turkey in April and returned under SupeRally regulations on Sunday to clinch third place - are now tied at the top of the J-WRC standings after two events.
“It was a good result for us,” said Abbring. “We dropped from the lead to third place in Turkey, so this weekend it was my luck and Burkart had what we had in Turkey: he dropped from the lead to third place. It keeps the championship very exciting.
“We came here to fight for the top three and then to fight for the win, but on the third stage we got the puncture and this cost three or four minutes. The hope was not gone, but we thought it could be tough to win because of the weather and the abrasive stages. It was hard to push to the maximum.”
Co-driver Mombaerts added: “We have only five results this year so this was very important to win here.”
Estonia’s Karl Kruuda was the only other driver to go the distance in his Suzuki Swift as the demanding gravel roads of the Algarve decimated the young driver category. He finished a strong second overall alongside co-driver Martin Jarveoja.
Yeray Lemes, who travelled to Portugal from the Canary Islands, was fourth behind Burkart in his Renault Clio S1600. Fellow Spaniard Egoi Valdes Lopez was fifth in a Clio R3, with Briton Harry Hunt recovering to sixth aboard a Ford Fiesta R2.
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