Ondřej Bisaha leads on the final round of the FIA European Rally Trophy in his Hyundai i20 R5, following Friday’s loop of asphalt stages. The Czech holds an advantage of over six minutes ahead of Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 driver Jérémie Toedtli.
The Rallye International du Valais kicked off last night with a trio of night mountain tests beginning with a short 2.4 kilometre stage close to Martigny, before heading to Verbier. Today was a tougher day for the competitors with four stages run twice around Sion, ending with a final test taking place in town, directly next to the Service Park. Luckily, the crews could enjoy a beautiful autumn day and the cheering support of numerous fans.
Bisaha had a strong start with a second-best time in SS1, and although the Czech the continuously dropped time through the following ten stages, he maintained his lead in the FIA ERT class. After a difficult start, his rival Toedtli set the fastest time in SS2 “Les Cols” but the young talent from Neuchâtel had to retire for the day after mechanical problems on his car on the next stage. The Swiss managed to make his way back from 44th to 19th place overall and sits in 2nd position overnight in the FIA ERT standings.
The R2 battle is intense in the FIA ERT 3 class. The Peugeot 208s are in front, with Switzerland’s Aurélien Devanthery proudly heading his fellow compatriot Jonathan Michellod by 38.4 seconds. Italy’s Endrico Oldrati is third in his Ford Fiesta, with a gap of over 4 minutes to the duo, while the Swiss Clément Piquerez is fourth in his Citroën C2, another 15 minutes behind. Michellod, Oldrati and Piquerez are also fighting for the ERT Junior crown.
The Swiss adventure ended today in SS6 with an accident for the local Sacha Althaus, who was competing in ERT 3 and ERT Junior, and on the following stage for his Czech ERT 3 rival René Dohnal, who encountered a mechanical problem. Both Peugeot 208 R2 drivers had to retire.
Tomorrow is the final leg of the event with seven stages to find out who is the best of the best.
Photo credits: Ondřej Bisaha / Petr Těšínský, photo by Dominique Schaechtelin, Trusk Images.