Nikara lands maiden IRC Production Cup triumph
"It was a very tough weekend"
Jarkko Nikara upheld Subaru honour with his maiden IRC Production Cup victory by a margin of more than four minutes over the Hungarian Gergély Szabó.
Nikara, in a Yokohama-shod Tommi Mäkinen Racing Impreza R4 STI, led from the outset and apart from a stall at a hairpin on Saturday morning, little troubled the Finn on his way to a strong fifth overall.
“It was a very tough weekend and after the first loop it was just about surviving because the road conditions became quite bad,” said Nikara. “I drove very slowly and I’m happy to be at the end. The team did a great job and the tyres worked well. There was a knocking sound on the car towards the end and I was waiting for something to break but it didn’t happen so I’m very happy.”
Marco Tempestini took third in class but only after overcoming a fraught final day, when he was delayed by a puncture, a broken brake calliper and a brief car fire.
However, Tempestini, who is now just two points behind title leader Andreas Aigner, will be able to take heart from his battling performance ahead of his home round of the IRC in Romania later this month.
Defending champion Toshi Arai from Japan was in second place when a ball joint failed on his Impreza heading to stage four.