Nicolas Ciamin secured a comfortable maiden Junior WRC class victory at Rally Finland, nearly four minutes ahead of a mad scramble for the other podium places, at one point involving three cars rolling in the same stage.
Ciamin took the lead early on Friday and did not look back, with a puncture late on Saturday’s penultimate test his only setback on the way to the top step of the podium. He did not win any stages on the rally’s final Sunday leg, opting to take a cautious approach to the end. It was a sensible plan given the bedlam unfolding around him in the class.
The second stage of the morning saw the battle for the remaining podium positions explode into life, as three of the six remaining drivers all rolled their cars. Emil Lindholm had been running in a clear second place but crashed early in the stage, a wrong pacenote sending him wide through a corner and causing enough damage to force his retirement from the rally.
Julius Tannert then rolled his Fiesta in the final corner of the stage, his car battered and bruised but still otherwise running. Dennis Rådström was next through the stage and executed a carbon copy of Tannert’s mistake at the same corner, but the Swede’s time loss was minimal, to the point he was still eight seconds faster than rally leader Ciamin.
The carnage ahead meant Nil Solans sensed an opportunity. Not only were championship points on the line, but the Spaniard was competing with Ciamin for two highly valuable drives in a WRC2 car next season, as whomever scored the most points across Poland and Finland combined would secure the prize.
He won the last three stages of the rally, pushing on to overhaul both Rådström and Tannert in the final test. He overcame a 5.1 second deficit to Rådström as the cars entered Oitilla for the final time, stealing second place by a mere 1.3 seconds.
Rådström held on to the final podium position, 8.2 seconds ahead of Tannert in fourth. The final finisher in the category was Dillon van Way, securing his first top five finish of the season over eleven minutes off the pace.
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