Fiesta SportingTrophy heads to Finland for fourth round action

27.07.2007: Fiesta SportingTrophy heads to Finland for fourth round action

Scotsman Barry Clark (24) is aiming for a fourth consecutive win in the Fiesta SportingTrophy International (FSTi) series as he lines up for round four in Finland next weekend (2-5 August 2007). Clark and co-driver Scott Martin (25) have faced tough competition from fellow competitors in Norway, Portugal and Sardinia, but have claimed the win on each round.

The seven round series follows the FIA World Rally Championship calendar and Neste Oil Rally Finland is the fourth round of the competitive one-make Championship. Finland will be the third outing on gravel stages this year for the crews in their identical 2-litre Ford Fiesta ST GpN cars.

Rally Finland holds a legendary status on the WRC calendar and is easily the fastest rally currently in the World Championship. Previously known as the Rally of 1000 Lakes and known locally as the Jyväskylä Grand Prix, this is an incredibly popular event with competitors and fans alike and is famous for its sweeping curves and great jumps.

With both Russian Evgeniy Vertunov and Welshman Simon Hughes sitting the Finnish round out, it is the perfect opportunity for Clark to extend his current lead in the Championship. Clark will be looking to repeat his 2006 winning result, where he finished 37th overall, ahead of 2006 FSTi Champion Alessandro Bettega (26).

M-Sport has recently announced that the Italian’s 2006 prize of a supported drive in the FIA Junior Rally Championship will be supplemented with a ride in the Ford Focus RS WRC 06 on the Rallye de France (12-14 October 2007) as the fourth member of the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford World Rally Team.

In Finland, Lithuanian Vytautas Baranauskas (23) will continue his FSTi campaign with co-driver Celiešius Gediminas (35) and will be aiming to better the third position they gained on the Rally de Portugal in April.

They will be up against newcomers to FSTi – Ford Rallye Sport Turkey – crewed by Emre Yurdakul (24) and co-driver Can Erkal (24), both of whom are currently lying fourth in the Turkish National Rally Championship driving a 2000-spec Ford Focus RS WRC. Yurdakul had the fortune to sit alongside BP-Ford’s Marcus Grönholm in his Ford Focus RS WRC 06 after Rally Finland last year, so he will be hoping to put some of the knowledge learned from the double World Champion into good practice.

 

Barry Clark said:

"I’ve really been looking forward to Finland as it is one of my favourite events. I’m really happy with how things have gone so far this year and the plan s to just keep things going the way the have been.

Taking part in Rally Poland in June was a good opportunity to get some time in the car before Finland so I will certainly be heading into the event with a lot more confidence. This will be a tough event on the Fiesta, but we won here last year so I’m just going to try to stay out of trouble and see if we can take victory again.

I have been improving my fitness levels during the mid-season break, so I’m feeling in peak condition and raring to go in Finland!"

 

Malcolm Wilson, Managing Director of M-Sport said:

"The opportunity that Alessandro [Bettega] has to drive the Ford Focus WRC car is exactly what we had hoped to be able to provide when we set up the FSTi series. Alessandro and his TRT team have worked really hard to get to where they are and this should give them a great chance to gain the experience that is vital to progress to the top nowadays.

2007 has been difficult for Alessandro to date and this will give him the chance to understand what competing at the highest level is all about – it is great that the Fiesta SportingTrophy has been able to offer this."

 

Championship standings after round 3 of 7

1 B CLARK GBR 10 10 10 30
2 E VERTUNOV RUS 8 5 8 - - 21
3 S HUGHES GBR 5 8 6 - - 19
4 V BARANAUSKAS LIT DNF 6 4 10
5 G BARBATI ITA - 4 5 - - 9
6 S BIELTVEDT NOR 6 - - - - 6
7 M MONTEIRO POR - 3 - - - 3
8= D KORSAKOV RUS - - - - 0
8= E YURDAKUL TUR - - - - 0
8= M PREZELJ SLO - - -- 0
8= A KUCUKSARI TUR - - - - 0

Event information

Date: 2-5 August 2007
Round: 4 of 7 Fiesta SportingTrophy International
Based: Paviljonki, Jyväskylä
Stage surfaces: Gravel
Total distance: 1375.15 km
Stage distance: 360.34 km
Number of stages: 23

 

www.fiestasportingtrophy.com

 

- Kate Rhodes-

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27.07.2007 / MaP

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