Rally Portugal: Chris Ingram wins WRC2 Junior classification
he 21 very rough and sometimes even rocky gravel stages in the vicinity of Matosinhos, a coastal town north of Porto, caused a high number of retirements. On this list: reigning WRC2 Drivers’ Champion Andreas Mikkelsen (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo). On Friday, the Norwegian and co-driver Torstein Eriksen were locked in a duel for the WRC2 lead with Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula. After six stages, the two front-runners already had opened up a gap of more than half a minute to the rest of the field. A puncture from Suninen (SS7) turned the tables in favour of Mikkelsen. Despite some engine issues, the leading crew reached the finish of the leg’s last stage with a margin of 37 seconds over their Finnish opponents.
But on the way to service park, the engine problems got worse. Andreas Mikkelsen eventually had to retire. With two victories already under his belt, he still ranks second in the WRC2 overall standings after four rallies.
From the word go, two crews fought for the lead in the WRC2 Junior category reserved for drivers under the age of 30. Initially, Mikołay Marczyk from Poland led Briton Chris Ingram. When both youngsters were struck by punctures, Marczyk lost more time and Ingram emerged as the new WRC2 Junior leader. The man from Manchester, who won the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship at the wheel of a ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, reached the finish more than one minute clear of Marczyk. The two ŠKODA crews also scored third and fourth position respectively in the WRC2 overall rankings. With his first category victory, Chris Ingram jumps to the lead in WRC2 Junior rankings.
Next stop for the FIA World Rally Championship is the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, where the gravel stages of Rally Italia Sardegna (2-5 June) await as round five of the 13 events series.