Hyundai Motorsport has extended its lead of Arctic Rally Finland

Hyundai Motorsport has extended its lead of Arctic Rally Finland

27.02.2021: ... round two of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) • Ott Tänak took three stage wins on Saturday (five in total for the weekend) to increase his advantage over Kalle Rovanperä to 24.1 seconds


... round two of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)


•    Ott Tänak took three stage wins on Saturday (five in total for the weekend) to increase his advantage over Kalle Rovanperä to 24.1 seconds


•    Thierry Neuville moved into third spot, ending Saturday’s schedule with a dominant stage win to close the gap to second place to 1.8-seconds. Craig Breen holds fourth.
 

 

Hyundai Motorsport continues to lead Arctic Rally Finland after another strong performance from Estonians Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja on the penultimate day of the event.

 


The crew added three more stage wins during Saturday’s six-stage itinerary to increase their lead to 24.1-seconds. Meanwhile, Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe moved up into a provisional podium position, finishing the day with a stunning stage win to close the gap to second-placed Kalle Rovanperä to just 1.8-seconds.
 


Irish crew Craig Breen and Paul Nagle dropped down to fourth after a tricky day on the snowy and icy Finnish stages but kept all three Hyundai i20 Coupe WRCs inside the top-four overall with eight out of ten stages completed.
 


The longest individual day of the rally covered a competitive distance of 144.04km; a repeated loop of three high-speed stages - Mustalampi (SS3/SS6, 24.43km), Kaihuavaara (SS4/SS7, 19.91km) and Siikakämä (SS5/SS8, 27.68km) - with an early afternoon service offering a chance for crews to make adjustments and plan their all-important tyre strategies. The second pass was run into darkness, offering another impressive spectacle as cars illuminated the snowbanks and snow/ice-covered roads, with tyre management and stud retention playing an influential role.
 


Tänak and Järveoja set the fastest time on the opening run through Mustalampi but then lost out in the subsequent stage after getting caught in a snowbank. The crew bounced back immediately to complete the morning loop with another win, continuing their impressive pace into the afternoon.
 


Neuville and Wydaeghe made further improvements to their communication during the day, in just the second WRC event of their new partnership. They were second to their Estonian colleagues in SS3 and SS6, which allowed them to leapfrog Breen and Nagle into third place. The Belgians ended Saturday with a mighty time in SS8, winning the stage by 12.3 seconds in another Hyundai 1-2. An exciting final day beckons in the Arctic Circle.
 



Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (#8 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)


•    Three more stage wins helped keep the Estonians on top of the classification

•    Leading the rally with an advantage of 24.1 seconds and two stages remaining
 


Tänak said
: “All in all, everything has gone to plan today. We had a good morning, but the stages were very demanding, incredibly fast and there are always places where the pace notes are not 100%. This afternoon, we took all the tyres we had, and we used them all; it was important just to get through and not make any mistakes.


We were pushing on the first loop, but we wanted to come through the final stages of the day cleanly. The last one was still quite stressful on the tyres, but we completed it with no trouble and that was the target.”
 




Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (#11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

•    Belgian crew moved up to third place early in the afternoon loop

•    A stunning time in SS8 (Siikakäma 2) saw them cut the gap to second place to 1.8-seconds
 

 

Neuville said: “I am happy at the end of the afternoon’s stages which went well; we had good tyre management and I think we were fastest over the loop. I was a bit surprised to see the gap was so big after that final stage to be honest. It was definitely better than this morning. I expected a better run on the opening loop because the car was working well but I couldn’t take all the risks due to some communications issues.


Martijn and I have been making some improvements but there’s more to come. The main target tomorrow is to bring home a double podium for Hyundai Motorsport. The stage is a different profile to those we’ve done so far but the car has been working well, I have been feeling comfortable and if our communication is working well, then we’ll go for it.”
 




Crew Notes: Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (#42 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)


•    A tough day for the Irish crew saw them drop from second to fourth

•    Their performance still ensured all three Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC cars remain in the top-four
 


Breen said:
“It’s been a frustrating day, but we are still in fourth so it’s not too bad. You need to be at the absolute top of your game in these conditions. I started the first stage this morning well, got into a rhythm but then made a few mistakes, got sucked into a few snowbanks and lost the momentum. That upset the loop, really. I haven’t driven on these conditions for a long time and the pace notes weren’t as fast as they needed to be.


I’ve tried my best to manage things - including the tyres - but it’s tricky when I don’t have any reference points. On the final stage, Thierry set an incredible time but compared to those around us we weren’t too far away. I know we can do it. The raw speed is there; it’s just getting the other refinements in order. The plan now is to keep hold of fourth and assess the situation to see what we do in the Power Stage.”
 




Team Principal Andrea Adamo said:
“In summary, I would have to say it has not been a bad day for us with Ott continuing to lead and Thierry fighting back into the provisional podium positions. It has been good to see their performances and I am sure they will still push for more tomorrow. However, it has been sad to see Craig slip back to fourth, not nice for us or for him.


I would also like to say well done to Oliver [Solberg, who is driving a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC this weekend] for what he has done so far. We asked him to enjoy himself and it certainly looks like he has done that.”  
 


Sunday at a glance




•    The 22.47km Aittajärvi stage will be run twice on the final day of Arctic Rally Finland with extra points available on the second attempt, the Power Stage


•    There will be no service between the stages as crews aim to bring their cars home safely to score important points for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships.
 



Classification after Day Two

 
1    O. Tänak    M. Järveoja    Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC    1:43:32.1
2    K. Rovanperä    J. Halttunen    Toyota Yaris WRC    +24.1
3    T. Neuville    M. Wydaeghe    Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC    +25.9
4    C. Breen     P. Nagle    Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC    +53.4
5    E. Evans    S. Martin    Toyota Yaris WRC    +1:03.5
6    O. Solberg    S. Marshall    Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC    +1:26.8
7    T. Katsuta    D. Barritt    Toyota Yaris WRC    +1:34.4
8    T. Suninen    M. Markkula    Ford Fiesta WRC    +1:49.3
9    G. Greensmith    E. Edmondson    Ford Fiesta WRC    +3:01.8


 
Thomas Villette,    Nicoletta Russo - photos Hyundai

 
 

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27.02.2021 / MaP

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