Local hero claims stunning victory in ERC rally under tough conditions – “It was just crazy!”

The Estonian ERC rally concluded on Sunday with a double victory for the host country.
Georg Linnamäe
Georg Linnamäe. Photo: @World / Red Bull Content Pool
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Georg Linnamäe, hailing from the Tartu area, clinched victory by 2.2 seconds ahead of fellow Estonian Robert Virves. Driving a Škoda, Virves had led by over nine seconds before the final stage, but Linnamäe delivered an extraordinary time in the harsh conditions.

Linnamäe, competing in Toyota’s new Rally2 car, beat Virves by 11.5 seconds on the 21.31 km Kambja stage. Heavy rain delayed the start of the stage, but Linnamäe managed to keep his car under control and drove significantly faster than the others.

“I gave it everything I had. It was just crazy, I think I had a moment in about every corner. At least we didn’t make it too easy for Virves if he gets it but it has been a great battle, the most fun I’ve ever had in a rally car,” Linnamäe enthused.

“Our rally we can be happy with, because we were quicker than all the FIA ERC competitors through the weekend. We would like to win it, but Linnamäe is the next one I’d want to win it, so it’s fine,” Virves commented.

Nikolay Gryazin, now driving under the Bulgarian flag, finished third, over a minute behind the leader. Former WRC stars Mads Østberg and Hayden Paddon took the next spots. Paddon moved to the top of the ERC standings alone with his fifth-place finish.

Irish Ford driver Jon Armstrong finished sixth. Miko Marczyk was seventh, Andrea Mabellini eighth, and current second-place ERC driver Mathieu Franceschi ninth.

Mikko Heikkilä retired from the podium battle before the final loop due to damage his car sustained during a jump.

Final results of the Estonian ERC rally:

1.Georg LinnamäeToyota1:44:33.1
2. Robert VirvesSkoda+2.2
3.Nikolay GryazinCitroen+1:11.2
4. Mads ØstbergCitroen+1:23.2
5. Hayden PaddonHyundai+1:59.2
6.Jon ArmstrongFord+2:20.1
7.Miko MarczykSkoda+2:22.1
8.Andrea MabelliniSkoda+2:48.2
9.Mathieu FranceschiSkoda+2:50.9
10. Gregor JeetsToyota+2:53.8
11. Teemu AsunmaaSkoda+3:11.8
12. Yuki YamamotoToyota+4:30.2

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