Michal Kosciuszko has joined Martin Prokop at the top of the Junior World Rally Championship standings after sweeping to a dominant victory on the Rally Portugal.
With Prokop choosing to use his 'pass' for this event in favour of competing in the Production WRC class – where he finished second -, Kosciuszko was imperious from start to finish as his rivals all hit problems.
Eventually the Pole crossed the finish line with a winning margin of more than five minutes, much to his delight.
“We took the lead on the first stage and kept it for the whole rally, but it hasn't been easy,” the Suzuki driver said. “I spent most of Saturday and Sunday driving safely, and luckily it was enough to win. It's been a great weekend and I'm happy to be leading the series with Martin. Of course I need to stay focused through the whole season, not just one rally, but so far so good.”
Several of Kosciuszko's rivals fell by the wayside over the course of the rally, but Kevin Abbring was affected less than most to claim second position for the KNAF Talent team, despite an anxious moment when the windscreen misted up through a water splash
“I couldn't see anything and had to stop the car to let the heater get it clean again - we lost some time there,” he said. “But in the end I'm very pleased with second place. And we moved up to fourth place in the championship - and that is something I did not count on before the season started!”
His team-mate Hans Weijs completed the podium after Luca Griotti, who started the final day in third, rolled out of contention.