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WRC - Rossel wins WRC3 title battle* with final stage charge

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2021 ACI Rally Monza - WRC3

2021 WRC - ACI Rally Monza - Yohan Rossel, WRC3 champion

Yohan Rossel grabbed the WRC3 world title* on Sunday afternoon with a monumental charge through the last stage of ACI Rally Monza.

Rossel started the winner-takes-all finale tied on points with his Škoda Fabia Rally2 rival Kajetan Kajetanowicz and led the Pole by just 2.7sec after Friday’s opening leg.

The Frenchman relinquished his category lead to Hyundai i20 N Rally2 pilot Andrea Crugnola on Saturday morning, but remained focused on the fight with Kajetanowicz for championship honours.

Rossel had the edge on the mountain stages in the Italian Alps but made a bad tyre choice on Saturday evening. Kajetanowicz seized the chance to claw back some time and the gap between the duo was back down to just 2.6sec before the final day.

Kajetanowicz drew first blood by almost having the deficit on Sunday’s opener before clinching the stage win on the penultimate test to move in front.

Rossel had to dig deeper than ever before. With the championship on the line, the Citroën C3 Rally2 star threw caution to the wind and went for gold.

He stopped the clock 4.7sec quicker than Kajetanowicz on the final Serraglio stage to finish 3.1sec ahead in the overall standings.

Although Crugnola won the category by 4.0sec, Rossel’s second place and Wolf Power Stage win were enough to seal the title by three points.

"It was not easy,” said a very emotional Rossel. “I have had a few technical issues this morning, so to be here is just incredible.

“I don't have words - I just want to thank all my team and my partners. We pushed very hard all weekend and I feel amazing," he added.

Crugnola said: "It was a close battle all weekend and we had some small issues Saturday, but I pushed quite a lot. We had some previous knowledge of the stages and I am happy for the team and Hyundai because this is their first victory with the new car."

The final unofficial results can be consulted here.

* subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA.