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GP Week : Issue 11
THE Junior World Rally Championship competitors provided excitement at an amazing level in Italy. Patrik Sandell took the initial lead in his Renault Clio S1600, but then Citroen driver Martin Prokop went ahead. Prokop held the lead until near the end of Saturday’s action, when Suzuki driver Michal Kosciuszko, who had never before won a JWRC event, went ahead with a lead of just 0.5s over the Czech driver. Then, Prokop suffered fuel problems in the penultimate stage, handing Kosciuszko a huge lead in front of Alex Bettega. As a result, he would go on to win his first JWRC event. Sebastien Ogier, winner in Mexico and Jordan, started steadily, but punctured, went off the road, damaged his car and withdrew for the rest of the first day. He restarted, gradually regained lost ground, and ended up fifth behind Bettega’s Clio R3, and the Citroens of Aaron Burkart and Shaun Gallagher. Sandell was lying third when he lost a wheel, and Kosciuszko’s team-mate Jaan Molder lost stages because of a heavy landing which broke his engine’s sump. Ogier still heads the Junior series from Kosciuszko. JWRC: Drama leads to first-time winner Who wants to win? Prokop was ready to fight Kusciuzko, until he had fuel problems ... 42