Maximum attack from Ketomaa in WRC 2
Finn heads support category after opening day in GB
Jari Ketomaa enhanced his hopes of winning the WRC 2 world title by leading the category after Friday’s opening day of Wales Rally GB.
The Finn, driving a Ford Fiesta R5, won five of the eight slippery forest speed tests in mid-Wales to lead Portugal’s Bernardo Sousa, who won the other three, by 39.5sec.
Ketomaa must win to stand any chance of the title and his hopes were boosted by gearbox problems for series leader Nasser Al-Attiyah. The Qatari need finish no higher than seventh to clinch the crown, no matter what Ketomaa does.
Al-Attiyah was second initially, but issues with his Fiesta RRC’s transmission relegated him to eighth, 1min 34.2sec behind Ketomaa and needing to climb the order over the final two days. Ketomaa’s only problem came when he stopped briefly in SS6 to reset his power steering.
“I drove my best today,” said Ketomaa. “There’s not much we can do except win as many stages as we can to stay at the top. I like this rally and I need to keep focused on my job and hope for the best behind me.”
Long-time series leader Lorenzo Bertelli was third in a Fiesta R5, 1min 09.5sec behind Ketomaa, after a misfire dropped Tom Cave out of the top three. Bertelli was 5.5sec ahead of the Briton and headed five cars covered by just 11sec.
Karl Kruuda broke an anti-roll bar on his Fiesta S2000 but was fifth, less than a second ahead of Matthew Wilson, with Valeriy Gorban just behind. Gorban was second but two spins and a brush with a bank cost valuable seconds.
Nicolas Fuchs broke the rear anti-roll bar on his Fiesta R5 in SS6, while Quentin Gilbert and David Bogie both punctured in the same stage. Problems replacing the tyre forced Bogie to retire.
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