44 crews started another Open RBR-LT WRC 2019 challenge in a very wet Wales Rally GB. Just one crew will not be able to continue their race and all other 43 participants will take part in second leg. But first let's review the day one action.
Lithuanian Arnas Kerbelys started the race with a very good pace and after three stages he already had 11 seconds advantage over Mateusz Przyszlakowski. From a SS4 the leader group were added with another Lithuanian. After winning SS4 Mantvydas Ralys jumped to 2nd place overall and kept this tandem with Arnas till the SS7. The 8th stage of the rally was won by championship leader Juan Marzoa and he overtook Mantvydas. Unfortunately for Juan this was the only stage win and the last stage of first leg because he made a mistake after finishing SS8 that caused a major damaged on his VW Polo R WRC. This was a good news for Libor Tomecek but only for one stage as he also retired in the last stage of first leg. However Czech situation is much better with a good chances to get back to the top 10 and cut some points from Juans championship advantage. So after winning 5 stages Arnas was leading over 20 seconds against Mantvydas. But last two stages were covered in fog and dark which showed the bravery of Mantvydas. He won both SS9 and SS10 which let him eliminate all Arnas advantage and before second leg Mantvydas is just 0.38 sec behind Arnas. Mateusz Przyszlakowski has to find some options to be faster in this conditions, because after terrible SS4 he is 3rd with 51.85 seconds loss to rally leader.
First leg had a very nice battle between all three WRC 2 leaders. Jan Gais, Kirill Kolomiets and Jyrki Niemela was flipping and changing positions all day. At the end 1st position belongs to Jyrki, 2nd is Jan with 13.98 seconds behind and Kirill Kolomiets is 3rd. Ukrainian has rolled his car in SS9 and now losses 31.17 seconds to leader.
Remus Diaconescu has won just first stage but managed to be on top after first leg with almost 15 seconds advantage over Maciej Zawisza. Maciej Minarski who were fastest in the most stages is 3rd, 32.72 seconds from Remus. If not the mistake in first stage, that cost Minarski about 20 seconds, situation would be more sharper but there are still lot's of kilometers left.
Seven more stages are waiting in second leg and we have Lithuanians in front. It's already clear that this event gonna bring some refreshment to championship standings as leaders had made crucial mistakes.