FIA Junior World Championship Finland Rally preview

FIA Junior World Championship Finland Rally preview

24.07.2018: FIA JUNIOR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP RALLY FINLAND 2018 Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for takeoff as the FIA Junior World Rally Championship crews embark on one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year Ė Neste Rally Finland.

FIA JUNIOR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
RALLY FINLAND 2018



Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for takeoff as the FIA Junior World Rally Championship crews embark on one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year – Neste Rally Finland.



The Pirelli-shod one-litre EcoBoost Ford Fiesta R2s are ready for action, and the penultimate round of the season is set to be a fast and furious affair.



Famed for their incredible speeds, Finland’s gravel roads have hosted 11 of the 12 fastest rallies in history. The blisteringly quick stages are characterised by huge jumps that favour the brave, and the Junior crews will have to muster all of their ‘sisu’ – a Finnish phrase which means having courage – if they are to master next week’s rollercoaster.



To best prepare for the Finnish fixture, a number of crews tackled AutoGlym Ralli – a well-known local event that has become something of a testing ground. Jean-Baptiste Franceschi finished an impressive second in class – just 8.6 seconds adrift of local driver Lauri Joona – and championship leader Dennis Rådström brought his Fiesta home fourth in class.



Enrico Oldrati was also contesting the event but suffered a heavy roll behind the wheel of his Fiesta. The young Italian was unhurt, and learnt much that he can take forward to next week’s encounter.



Also sampling some high-speed stages in preparation, Ken Torn took his Fiesta to two class victories back home in Estonia. The second came at Rally Estonia – an event three of the four manufacturer teams also chose as part of their preparation for next week.



Emil Bergkvist, Terry Folb, Julius Tannert, Tom Williams and Umberto Accornero will be calling on their past experiences of Rally Finland, whilst David Holder will be looking to channel his knowledge of similar roads found back home in New Zealand.



Like Holder, Luca Bottarelli, Emilio Fernández and Callum Devine have all been competing at home – Devine behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta R5 at the Donegal International Rally – and Bugra Banaz has been testing at home in Turkey.



The Junior WRC will also welcome a new recruit to the ranks next week – Finland’s Henri Hokkala who has been chosen as this year’s AKK Future Rally Star of Finland.
 


Hokkala is the latest winner of a fully-funded drive awarded annually by AKK Sports – the promotional arm of Finland’s motorsport federation – and follows in the footsteps of Teemu Suninen, Jari Huttunen, Juuso Nordgren and Emil Lindholm.



Assessed in reconnaissance and pacenote-making skills, mental strength, physical fitness and media savvy, Hokkala was judged as Finland’s next big thing and awarded his place behind the wheel of one of M-Sport Poland’s Ford Fiesta R2s.



A Swede won in Sweden, a Frenchman in Corsica… can a Finn win in Finland?



FIA Junior World Rally Championship Manager, Maciej Woda, said:
“Rally Finland is an event that every driver wants to win, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s the highlight of the year for so many people and the high speeds and big jumps make it one of the most enjoyable rallies on the calendar.



 But don’t be fooled; as it’s not all fun and games. The stages are extremely technical with so many blind corners over crests. Precision is paramount and even the smallest of mistakes aren’t easily forgiven. It’s a big challenge that favours the brave – and I’m looking forward to seeing who can muster their inner ‘sisu’ next week.”



Anna Louise Rudd- photo FIA Junior WJWRC

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/fia-junior-world-rally-finland-preview---179121.html

24.07.2018 / MaP

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