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Wales Rally : Eric Camilli so close to his first win…

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Camilli13GB15sv085For his last participation of the season in the World Rally Championship, with Team ORECA and a part of the final round scheduled in Wales, Eric Camilli delivered a brilliant performance. Together with co-driver Benjamin Veillas, the French driver led the WRC2 class from the fourth to the eighteenth special stages of the weekend. It is during the final stage that he had to give up on victory following on an engine problem on the Ford Fiesta R5. Obviously disappointed to miss out on his first class success, Eric Camilli nevertheless demonstrated the full extent of his talent with seven top times and a leader status which he embraced with brio. Teemu Suninen, his regular teammate within ORECA, won this British round on board a private Skoda with Mikko Markkula.

“Everybody is obviously disappointed with this scenario which prevented Eric and Benjamin from claiming victory in this final special stage. But we’ve got to put things into perspective considering the tragic events that happened in our country on Friday night” ORECA President Hugues de Chaunac says. “Our first thoughts are with the victims and their families, with those injured by these attacks. We had to keep going. Eric and Benjamin completed an excellent rally, leading right from the first evening and living up to the challenge. They were impressive and they deserved to win. It shows their improvements throughout the season, on all surfaces. They can be proud of the work done and we’re proud of them. Bravo Teemu and Mikko, we’re pleased to have supported you this year.”

Eric Camilli, undisputed leader!
On Friday, Eric made a perfect start in this 2015 edition of the Wales Rally, clinching the second place of the first special stage. He maintained himself within the Top 3 for the next two stages before posting the scratch time and reaching the top of the WRC2 classification during SS4. He completed the first day in the lead. With nine special stages scheduled, Saturday promised to be an important and revealing leg. Member of the FFSA French Rally Team, Camilli successfully met that challenge: posting the best time on five occasions – first one in SS6 and four others in SS12 and SS15 – and staying within the leading trio on two occasions… Consistent and competitive, he never went out of the Top 5 despite horrendous weather conditions. Enough to be leading by 35 seconds (instead of 10 seconds previously)! Undisputed leader, he was confident going into the final day. Unfortunately, his Fiesta R5 encountered engine issues. Eric did attack but was not able to express his potential. Still in the lead before the final special stage, he could not do anything about the situation and missed out on the win by twenty seconds, with a second-place finish in this round.

“We were strong from beginning to end and we’ve been in the lead for a long time in WRC2. So it’s a positive rally in that sense” Eric Camilli underlines. “We’d been competitive in previous rallies, but being in the lead while discovering this round was quite special. Especially since the weather conditions were even more difficult than expected. But as it increased in difficulty, I felt more and more comfortable, and the team worked well for the car to really suit me. Unfortunately we encountered an engine problem which took our first victory away. However, it’s still a big step forward for us. Results come second. But I would have just loved to clinch that win to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks. We support their families and relatives.”

For his first season in WRC2, Eric Camilli and co-driver Benjamin Veillas have climbed onto the podium three times in Germany, Corsica and now Great-Britain. Teemu Suninen, his regular teammate, also a member of TMG’s Junior Driver Development Program, clinched his first class win at the wheel of a private Skoda Fabia S2000.