The pace continues to be tight, and the season of HRT Racing and Norbert Maior and his team has reached another stage. This year’s main objective, the ERC4 Junior Championship, continued at a familiar venue in rally circles. The Scandinavian Rally was held for the first time in Sweden. The tracks would have been familiar to drivers who had driven on them in snowy conditions, but this time the field had to cope with the tracks on a fine dry gravel surface in the middle of summer. The Romanian pair of brothers had never raced here before, so they could not rely on previous experience. Before the weekend, they were tied with Victor Hansen for 2nd place in the Junior standings after two races.
The Swedish stages are known to have a very high average pace, similar to the two races in Poland and Latvia. The team arrived in Sweden at the beginning of the week after the longest trip of the year. A short test session was scheduled for Tuesday, followed by a Wednesday spent getting to know the tracks and setting out the course. In Thursday’s shakedown, the Maiors managed to complete four laps of the 4.43 km designated track and set the fastest time.
On Friday, it was time for the real action, with four different races, twice each. In the first round, the home riders, who were only competing in this race, took control and the top four included three Swedish riders. The Norbi’s finished the first four stages in 6th place, steady and familiar with the tracks. After the service, Norbi and Francesca were able to improve their times a lot in each of the afternoon’s fast stages, and as a result they moved up two places in the overall standings and third place was only 0.6 seconds away. The top three places were taken by Swedish riders.
Norbert Maior after the first day: “We were nervous about the unfamiliar tracks, but at the end of the day we can now relax as our fourth place means that we are ahead of the other drivers fighting with us in the championship, although not by much. We were comfortable in the car all day and smiling all the way. My sincere thanks to all our supporters for having us here. Tomorrow is going to be a crazy day but we want to move forward, but we also have to keep our eyes on the back of our heads.”
The promising Saturday also featured four different stages, which had to be completed twice for the drivers to reach the finish line. The Norbi’s really got going on the first lap and found themselves on the imaginary third step of the podium, but three behind them were within striking distance. Norbi and Francesca had to keep fending off attacks from the rear on the second lap and, with some smart, fast racing, only the two home Swedish drivers could overtake them to take a very respectable 3rd place. This race has now shown that the team and driver pair are now fully integrated and are among the absolute front runners. For the first time this year they managed to beat the championship leader Nore Ola Junior from Norway!
After the race Norbert Maior said. It was a tough race, not just in the rehearsals but before we got here. Without you guys we couldn’t have done it, it’s our achievement and yours because we couldn’t have done it on our own. Thank you so much for believing in us and helping us get closer to our dream. We leave here incredibly happy and proud. We did it together!”
ERC4 Junior Final Results:
1. Reiersen Isak – Karlsson Lucas Ford Fiesta Rally4
2. Hallberg Patrik – Stigh John Ford Fiesta Rally4
3. Maior Norbert-Maior Francescsa Peugeot 208 Rally4
ERC4 Junior Composite standings after three races:
1. Nore Ola Jr. 75 pont
2. Maior Norbert 66 pont
3. Hansen Victor 56 pont
The championship has reached its halfway point. The remaining three races of the ERC4 Junior Championship will be on asphalt. The next destination will be Rome, where the race will take place from 28-30 July.