What a dramatic finish for 2016 edition of Rally Santa Domenica. After Peter Ranga (Škoda Fabia R5) led from the second stage on, he lost his victory on the last stage. For the fourth successive year Beppo Harrach and his co-driver Dominik Jahn won the rally. Their winning marging was just 0.9 of the second.
Beppo Harrach (Ford Fiesta R5) made a great opening stage in the morning. Despite some his mistakes he set the fastest time. But from the second stage on, it was Peter Ranga (Škoda Fabia R5) who set the pace for the overall victory. Ranga had just a small advantage. He led for 3.4 seconds after the fourth stage. But on the last one, he set a slow time and that allowed Harrach to overtake him in overall standings by just 0.9 of the second. Harrach won the rally now for the fourth time in a row.
Harrach and Ranga were driving in their own league. Rok Turk (Ford Fiesta R5) was less competitive in the afternoon, but he still managed to secure his third place overall. He was 47.5 seconds slower as Harrach. Turk managed to be faster as Antila Kovacs (Ford Fiesta R5) by 2.5 seconds. Fifth place was well deserved for Gerald Riegler (Ford Fiesta WRC). Austrian overtook Croatian champion Juraj Šebalj (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) on the last stage. Šebalj still won the Group N category with a lead of 21.3 seconds infront Szabolcs Varkonyi (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9), while third place went to the Nenad Lončarič (Subaru Impreza). In 2WD category Mattias Ledin (Peugeot 208 R2) was in a class of his own. He finished the rally as 11th overall.
Ranga leads for 3.4 seconds, enough for the last stage?
Peter Ranga and his co-driver Tamas Szoke are just one stage away from their victory at Rally Santa Domenica. They won also the fourth stage, this time by an advantage of 2.2 seconds. Their lead is now 3.6 seconds and for Beppo Harrach (Ford Fiesta R5) it will be hard to overcome that on the last stage.
Fourth stage was also very successful to Hungarian Antal Kovacs (Ford Fiesta R5). He was third fastest and is now closing on Rok Turk (Ford Fiesta R5) in overall classification. Kovacs in only 1.4 seconds behind Turk. There will be also an interesting battle between Juraj Šebalj (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) and Gerhard Riegler (Ford Fiesta WRC) for fifth place. They are separated by 1.9 seconds.
Ranga increases his lead to 1.4 seconds
Peter Ranga (Škoda Fabia R5) win his second successive stage at Rally Santa Domenica. He extended his overall lead to 1.4 seconds.
This is first appereance for Ranga at Rally Santa Domenica, but quick Hungarian driver in also a very fast learner. With his factory prepared Škoda Fabia R5 he won two out of three stages so far, but his lead is still very small. Only 1.4 seconds seperate him and his main rival Beppo Harrach (Ford Fiesta R5). Third placed Rok Turk (Ford Fiesta R5) was this time only fourth fastest, 11 seconds behing Ranga. Overall he is now 23.5 seconds behind the leading Hungarian driver. While Antal Kovacs (Ford Fiesta R5) remains fourth (+31.9 seconds), Gerald Rigler (Ford Fiesta WRC) set the third fastest time on SS3 and is now already sixth overall.
Juraj Šebalj (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) leads Group N and Matthias Ledin (Peugeot 208 R2) is so far the best one in 2WD category.
Beppo Harrach leads after the SS1
Beppo Harrach and his co-driver Bernhard Jahn made an impressive start to the Rally Santa Domenica. Despite some mistakes they are leading the rally after the first of five planned stages.
“I was really surprised with the time. I was much too fast in first ten corners. I was all over the place. Then it was better, but in the second part of the stage, we went into a field. So, it’s nice to lead after such an eventful stage,” said Harrach.
Austrian driver in Ford Fiesta R5 has 4.4 seconds advantage to Peter Ranga (Škoda Fabia R5) and 8.1 seconds to Antal Kovacs (Ford Fiesta R5). Fastest four drivers are less than nine seconds apart. Rok Turk (Ford Fiesta R5) was 8.8 seconds slower time as Harrach.
“This is my first proper stage in a Ford Fiesta R5. We did some testing yesterday and we had a lot of issues to get the right setup. I finally managed to step into the right direction. Today is getting better and better,” said Turk.