Irishman Craig Breen holds the lead in the intermediate classification.
The fourth of the ten scheduled rounds of the European Rally Championship, SATA Rallye Açores, has come to an end last weekend. This race was marked by a colorful struggle between two strong leaders of the current season - Craig Brin and Kajetan Kajetanovic staged a real duel during the first two days.
In addition to the fact that a personal confrontation broke out in the Azores, this struggle also boiled down to a rivalry between the two most popular manufacturers of the European rally championship: Brin in a Peugeot 208 T16 against Kajetanovic in a Ford Fiesta R5. And now the Irish pilot remains the leader in the standings - he has 117 points, and his Polish rival has 103 points.
This pair is significantly ahead of the closest rival: the third Frenchman Robert Consani has 55 points. Russian Alexei Lukyanuk missed this race for organizational reasons, and is now in fourth place with 43 points.
The most beautiful race on the Azores has become the arena of no less beautiful battle
The race on the Azores has passed in the most intense mode - Craig Brin and Kajetan Kajetanovich exchanged their leadership positions three times. And by the start of the three final special stages of the last racing day, the gap between the leading Brin and his Polish rival was only 11.9 seconds.
The fate of the race was decided by the tire strategy: for the final section Bryn stayed on Michelins solid tires, and Kajetanovic opted for Pirelli soft tires. His bet did not work - hard tires worked much more efficiently, which allowed Brin not only to win, but also to increase his finishing gap to 1 min 02 s. Brin's third consecutive ERC win! And it looks like a title claim.
Young Briton Chris Ingram won the Colin McRae Trophy
No less dramatic the situation has developed in the ERC Junior standings. Russian racer Vasily Gryazin also took part here, but he did not really manage to prove himself in the Azores - literally at the very beginning of the first battle day, he got off due to a breakdown of his Peugeot 208 VTi R2.
Briton Chris Ingram and Swede Emil Bergqvist claimed the leadership. However, Ingram was slightly faster and led his Peugeot 208 VTi R2 to victory. This task was complicated by the fact that the racer was poisoned on the eve of the final fighting day, and he had to gather all his will in a fist to bring the race to the finish line.
His bright and emotional ride did not go unnoticed - the young fast Briton received an honorary award, the Colin McRae Trophy, which is presented at the ERC to the brightest and most talented pilot of the stage.
Let us remind you that Martin Prokop wants to test himself in the world rallycross .