Today’s plan was for the 33 drivers who had progressed to Stage 2 to be whittled down to 12 for tomorrow’s Stage 3 shootout.
However, rain made the track slippery in parts catching out unwary drivers with a number of off-track excursions and stoppages – some resulting in damage to the TN5 XC Cross Car. Despite the best efforts of support crews, racing was curtailed for the day before the completion of Stage 2.
The two remaining groups from Stage 2 will finish their runs tomorrow morning before the final 12 shootout later in the day.
The competitors’ efforts fell under the gaze of the five-member Jury chaired by FIA Deputy President for Sport, Robert Reid. Other Jury members are Pernilla Solberg, M-Sport’s Malcolm Wilson, Pirelli’s Terenzio Testoni and Thierry Neuville.
The day began with the remaining two groups completing their Stage 1 runs of the 750-metre course of the Estering rallycross circuit. The track layout was then re-configured for Stage 2 with the time runs over a 2.0-kilometre challenge.
Drivers had one sighting lap, plus three timed runs in 115-horsepower Cross Cars maintained by LifeLive, the company founded by WRC driver Thierry Neuville and brother Yannick.
Despite the challenging conditions, Robert Reid, FIA Deputy President for Sport, was impressed with the quality of driving skills on display as the contenders took their latest steps on the ladder towards a future in top-class rally competition.
“Not only has the level of competition been extremely high on a difficult course but equally impressive has been the camaraderie among the field vying for European honours,” he said.
“Our objective, as always, is to ensure fairness for all, so given the track conditions today, the best solution was to carry over Stage 2 to tomorrow. Having to adapt to change is all part of the learning experience for these young drivers. We look forward to unearthing our two shining stars – one male and one female – tomorrow.”
Partners of the FIA Rally Star initiative, supported by the FIA Innovation Fund (FIF), are Pirelli, M-Sport, LifeLive, the FIA World Rally Championship Promoter, Thrustmaster, Nacon, Playseat, OMP, Bell and Digital Motorsports.