Virves closes in on junior title
Virves avoided any major setbacks to maintain a comfortable 53.2-second lead over second-placed Jon Armstrong in the all-Ford Fiesta Rally3 field.
The Estonian started Saturday with a gap of 1min 47s over Ulsterman Armstrong, who lost around 1min 30s when he was stopped to change a wheel on Friday’s final stage.
With such a lead in demanding conditions, Virves avoided taking too many risks on Saturday, allowing his rivals to battle for stage victory points as he remained focused on closing in on the title. This allowed Armstrong to back up more than half a minute on the rough gravel terrain.
William Creighton is third overall. The Irishman suffered a wheel hub problem on SS10 that lost him more than three minutes to Virves and Armstrong, but it didn’t affect his overall standings.
Defending champion Sami Pajari returned to action on Saturday after being forced to retire on Friday morning after running out of spare wheels. The Finn went on the offensive and took five out of six stage wins which could prove crucial as he fights to finish the season in the top three.
Mcrae Kimathi finished fifth on Saturday while Lauri Joona was forced to retire with a gearbox problem on a road section during the morning loop.