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51st Neste Rally Finland
Official Site: http://www.akkry.fi/nesterallyfinland/
Round 9 of the 2001 FIA World Rally Championship
Official FIA Press Release
Neste Rally Finland: Gronholm Wins!
Sunday, 26 August 2001
Marcus Grönholm has scored his second home victory on the Rally Finland, the ninth round of this year's FIA World Rally Championship. The Peugeot driver took over the lead yesterday morning and never surrendered it thereafter, despite challenges from team-mate Harri Rovanperä and Richard Burns. Burns eventually finished runner-up to Grönholm after late suspension problems prevented Rovanperä from scoring a one-two for Peugeot. He claimed fourth, behind Ford's Colin McRae, who was the leading world title contender. McRae's third overall closed the gap between the Scot and world championship leader Tommi Mäkinen to six points, while Carlos Sainz also narrowed his deficit to the series top spot by scoring a point in sixth.
Today's three long stages were again held in dry, sunny conditions, and none of the leading protagonists hit enough trouble to force retirement. But two of the fancied privateer crews - Juuso Pykalisto and Raphael Sperrer - crashed out at the same corner.
Technical: Marcus Grönholm suffered ATS mousse break-ups in the front tyres of his Peugeot on this morning's long opening stage but otherwise the reigning world champion's 206 performed reliably. Harri Rovanperä was not so fortunate - he lost time when he clipped a rock on the first stage and broke a valve in a tyre. Then on the penultimate stage, he again suffered from an oil leak in a damper and as the problem worsened, he had to ease off considerably to ensure a finish.
Sporting: Peugeot had told its drivers to take no risks and make sure of a maximum points haul in the manufacturers' series, so Marcus Grönholm started today's tests confident that team-mate Harri Rovanperä would pose no serious threat. The reigning world champion duly rattled off the three stages to score his first win since Australia last November. Harri Rovanperä expected to have to settle for second today but damper problems and a broken valve on his tyre eventually dropped him to fourth by the finish.
Quotes: Marcus Gronholm said: "There has been a bit more of a fight this year but at the same time, I've never really felt under big pressure. Harri was pushing hard of course, and Richard too, but when Harri had some problems yesterday I became a bit more comfortable. I feel a bit sorry for him today, because he deserved to finish on the podium. I don't think this result really puts me in the fight for the championship but it helps Peugeot a lot and we'll see what happens in New Zealand."
Harri Rovanpera said: "I saw the oil coming out of the damper on the stage before the last and I had to back off because if I'd broken it completely, I could have retired. Of course I'm disappointed because I wanted to fight and at least keep second place, but it gives me even more determination for next year."
Team Peugeot Total Director Corrado Provera said: "We are delighted for Marcus and Timo, and feel very sorry for Harri and Risto (Pietilainen). But our main aim is still the manufacturers' championship and in that we have moved up to third. The improved efficiency and performance here gives us improved optimism for New Zealand next month. In Harri we have discovered a new Finnish diamond after Marcus and it is almost certain that he will be with us again next year, and hopefully for a long time after that."
Technical: Apart from a vibration on the penultimate stage after he clipped a stone, Richard Burns's Impreza WRC2001 has been reliable today. Petter Solberg's example has been troublefree, while Markko Martin still felt his Subaru was down on power after he'd flattened the exhaust yesterday.
Sporting: Richard Burns started today aiming to defend third place from Colin McRae, but a fastest time on the day's first stage (and a slow performance from Harri Rovanperä) gave the Englishman a chance of second instead. Rovanperä's late suspension glitches allowed Burns to claim the runners-up spot on the final stage. Markko Martin chose too hard a tyre compound in the day's first stage and stalled at a hairpin but he did enough to fend off Carlos Sainz and bag fifth. Petter Solberg continued to gain experience and finished eighth, scoring a single manufacturers' point for Subaru.
Quotes: Richard Burns said: "It's been a lot better today - I've had a more flowing driving style and it's just clicked a bit more effectively. Our road position yesterday hindered me more than I'd expected but I said before the start I wanted to put in a good drive and get a podium finish, and we've done that. Six points is good but we've still got half of Tommi Mäkinen's total, so I'm just taking each event as it comes."
Markko Martin said: "I'm happy to finish in the top six but to be honest, it was better during the first day and yesterday morning. Since then and my accident I've been making small mistakes and that's annoyed me. But to come back to the championship after a little break and score points is good."
Petter Solberg said: "This event is so hard to learn but I've been very pleased by my speed in the sections that I've done before. It was going much better today so I'm already confident and looking forward to next year!"
Technical: Francois Delecour was forced to retire on the road section from Jyvaskyla to first service this morning. His Focus WRC reported a lack of fuel pressure, although the car's fuel gauge reported sufficient petrol in the tank. Colin McRae's and Carlos Sainz's cars were reliable throughout today's stages, though.
Sporting: Colin McRae expected Richard Burns to charge on the day's first stage and when the Englishman took nearly six seconds from the Ford driver, he elected to settle for fourth and championship points. McRae was handed an unexpected bonus on the final stage, though, when Rovanperä's problems promoted him to third overall. Carlos Sainz was unable to close in on Markko Martin this morning, and the Spaniard had to settle for sixth at the finish. François Delecour's day ended before the first stage when his Focus lost fuel pressure less than three kilometres away from first service.
Quotes: Colin McRae said: "I only realised I was third when the cameraman asked me about it! We'd actually settled for fourth and some points and that would have been fine, but an extra point and a place on the podium is obviously a nice surprise. The point could come in useful by the end of the season. I always knew Richard was going to go like hell this morning and he certainly did - but then, I had more to lose than he did. The championship is getting interesting but a lot depends on the new Mitsubishi, our car's pace on asphalt and how quick the Citroens go in Sanremo and Corsica."
Technical: A change of pedal box at last night's final service cured the brake problems that had plagued Freddy Loix throughout yesterday's stages. Toni Gardemeister, meanwhile, had to complete the day's longest stage with an out-of-line right-rear wheel after he hit a rock. He eventually crashed out on the final stage.
Sporting: Freddy Loix battled with Finn Pasi Hagstrom today, and the pair inched into the top ten thanks to the retirement of Juuso Pykalisto and Alister McRae's puncture. Toni Gardemeister had worked his way into 11th before he rolled out on the final stage.
Quotes: Freddy Loix said: "Today was better because at least I could have confidence in the brakes but at the same time it's been a frustrating event for us. We showed on the first day we could have quite a good speed but then the problems took over. I hope we have better luck in New Zealand."
Toni Gardemeister said: "I'm really disappointed, but the car went over two or three times and everything was broken. All I can do is regroup and do my best for the team in New Zealand."
Technical: Alister McRae had to stop and change a puncture after he clipped a rock on this morning's first stage. But his Accent WRC2 performed reliably otherwise. Kenneth Eriksson complained of understeer on the same test but suffered no major mechanical dramas.
Sporting: Alister McRae's first-stage puncture cost the Scot more than three minutes and he dropped outside the top ten as a result. Kenneth Eriksson, meanwhile, concentrated further on gaining extra confidence with the Accent on the high-speed sections. He'd been concerned by a number of fast 'moments' during the opening day.
Quotes: Alister McRae said: "The puncture was very frustrating but what can you do? I saw the rock at the last minute and as soon as we hit it I knew the tyre was going to go down. I've been fairly happy with our speed here - we're a lot closer to the pace this year than we were 12 months ago."
Technical: The Octavia WRCs of Bruno Thiry and Stig Blomqvist were reliable today, but Armin Schwarz's example has suffered from shock absorbers that went soft after 25km.
Sporting: Armin Schwarz's suspension problems meant he was unable to bring his Octavia any closer to the top ten than 15th. The German had almost fully recovered from his inner ear infection, although he did feel extremely tired after sleeping badly during the last few nights. Bruno Thiry concentrated on making small changes to his pacenotes in preparation for future visits, while Stig Blomqvist won the 'battle of the veterans' by being the only finisher (Markku Alen and Juha Kankkunen both retired).
Quotes: Armin Schwarz said: "The suspension getting soft has made things very difficult today, because some of the roads have been used twice and in the ruts it just bounced around."
Finnish privateer Juuso Pykalisto's promising run ended with an accident on today's first stage, so the top non-works finisher was Sebastian Lindholm (Peugeot). Pasi Hagstrom also scored a top ten finish in his Corolla after fighting past Freddy Loix.
In the FIA Super 1600 Cup, Frenchman Sebastien Loeb maintained his unbeaten record in the category by claiming another win in his Citroen Saxo. Italian Andrea Dallavilla was second in a Fiat Punto, with Jussi Valimaki bagging the final podium place in his Peugeot 206.
The Group N Class for more standard cars was turned on its head in SS19, when category leader Jouni Ampuja retired with suspension problems and his nearest challenger, Marko Ipatti crashed out. With fellow Finn Jouko Puhakka damaging his oil tank after hitting a rock, Argentine driver Marcos Ligato came through to score an unexpected win on one of the most specialised rounds. Countryman Gabriel Pozzo was second in his similar Mitsubishi.
UNOFFICIAL FINAL RESULTS
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 3:23:12,8
2 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 3:23:37,8
3 McRae Ford Focus WRC 3:23:45,1
4 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 3:23:46,7
5 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 3:24:30,7
6 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 3:24:53,3
7 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 3:25:52,4
8 Lindholm Peugeot 206 WRC 3:25:57,4
9 Hagstrom Toyota Corolla WRC 3:28:14,0
10 Loix Mitsubishi Carisma GT 3:28:18,2
1 Ligato Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:44:36,2
2 Pozzo Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:45:25,6
3 Kuistila Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:45:59,8
1 Loeb Citroen Saxon 3:49:19,6
2 Dallavilla Fiat Punto 3:54:41,5
3 Valimaki Peugeot 206 3:57:13,0
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after 9 of 14 rounds)
FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers:
Mäkinen (FIN) 40
McRae (GB) 34
Sainz (E) 27
Rovanperä (FIN) 23
Burns (GB) 21
Grönholm (FIN) 14
Delecour (F) 14
Auriol (F) 10
FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers
FIA World Cup for Drivers of Production Cars:
Pozzo (RA) 53
Trelles (ROU) 26
Ligato (RA) 22
Stohl (A) 12
Gillet (CH) 10
Walfridsson (S) 10
Da Silva 10
Blomqvist (S) 8
FIA Teams Cup (after 4 of 6 rounds, this event not counting):
Hagstrom (FIN) 20
Lundgaard (DK) 20
Bakhashab (SA) 13
Papadimitriou (GR) 8
FIA Super 1600 Cup (after 3 of 6 rounds):
Loeb (F) 30
Dallavilla (I) 14
Stenshorne (N) 7
SS19 - Burns, SS20 - Rovanpera, SS21 - Burns
SS21 Gardemeister Mitsubishi Carisma GT Accident
SS19 Delecour Ford Focus WRC Fuel Pressure
SS14 Passonen Ford Focus WRC Accident
SS16 Kannkunen Hyundai Accent WRC Lack of brakes
SS13 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC Suspension failure
SS1 Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Hit stump
SS 19, Moksi-Leustu 40.84 km 1st Car: 09:53
1 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 20:52,2
2 McRae Ford Focus WRC 20:57,7
3 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 21:01,8
4 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 21:08,8
5 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 21:10,1
SS 20, Talviainen 2 30.30 km 1st Car: 12:11
1 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 14:53,6
2 McRae Ford Focus WRC 14:57,2
3 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 14:57,6
4 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 14:59,7
5 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 15:01,3
SS 21, Ouninpohja 2 25.20 km 1st Car: 13:39
1 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 11:43,6
2 McRae Ford Focus WRC 11:44,2
3 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 11:45,5
4 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 11:45,9
5 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 11:47,3
End of Leg 2
Saturday, 25 August 2001
Local drivers Marcus Grönholm and Harri Rovanperä have become embroiled in a fight for victory on the ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the Rally Finland, which continued today. The two Peugeot drivers moved clear of rivals Richard Burns, Colin McRae and Markko Martin on the fast stages to the south-west of host town Jyvaskyla. A stunning fastest time from Rovanperä on the day's longest stage, Ouninpohja, moved him into a position to challenge his world champion team-mate. The pair arrived at this evening's superspecial separated by just under 13 seconds.
The predicted rain failed to materialise today, punishing the first few cars on the road, as they had to sweep the stages clear of loose gravel. Several of the fancied crews hit trouble, too - Didier Auriol retired his Peugeot with suspension failure, while yesterday's privateer sensation Jani Paasonen crashed twice in his Ford Focus.
Technical: Didier Auriol's hopes of a top-six finish on the Rally Finland ended in an unlucky 13th stage for the Frenchman. He felt his 206 WRC handling strangely after about six kilometres and then the right-front suspension collapsed in a left-hand corner following a jump. The other two 206 WRCs of Marcus Grönholm and Harri Rovanperä have been reliable, however.
Sporting: Marcus Grönholm took over first position on today's opening stage when overnight leader Richard Burns suffered a puncture, and the reigning world champion held top spot thereafter to arrive back in Jyvaskyla this evening 12.7 seconds ahead of his nearest rival. Harri Rovanperä tried to charge this morning but damaged his suspension slightly on a rock on the day's first test. Following service, the Swedish Rally winner increased his pace again to overhaul Burns and move into second overall.
Quotes: Marcus Gronholm said: ?There is still a long way to go but it's been a good day. I actually think the competition is much tighter than last year and the roads are a bit drier too, which makes them more slippery. I was worried in the second loop of stages because I think I knocked a wheel a bit out of line after a heavy landing but otherwise the car has been running very well. I want to fight with Harri tomorrow - I haven't had much of a fight for the last nine months, so why not?!?
Harri Rovanpera said: ?I knew I had to charge today after my problems yesterday, but then I hit this rock and started to notice some oil coming from the suspension again. Luckily for me it didn't become as bad as yesterday afternoon, and then on the next three stages I was able to push again. It's going well - I have a good feeling for the car and our speed backs up what we felt after testing.?
Didier Auriol said: ?I don't understand why the suspension broke. I didn't hit anything, but I did feel the car go a bit strange. Then in a compression after a jump it broke. I'm disappointed - we'd chosen too soft a tyre compound this morning but I knew from yesterday that we could have scored a good result.?
Technical: Richard Burns and Petter Solberg have had no major problems with their Impreza WRC2001s today, although a puncture shredded on Burns's car towards the end of today's first stage. He also had a right-front puncture towards the end of the day's longest test, Ouninpohja. Markko Martin's car has been troublefree, apart from 19km of SS19 when the Estonian flattened the exhaust by going off.
Sporting: Richard Burns believes that today's stages didn't clean as much as he'd feared they might, but the Briton felt that not being able to study rivals' lines in the loose gravel cost him more time. He lost crucial seconds this morning with a puncture but was able to almost match Grönholm on the following tests, even eclipsing the Finn in SS14. He couldn't defend Harri Rovanperä's charge, though, and slipped to third as he struggled to push to the limit on stages he hadn't seen before. Markko Martin inched closer to his team-mate this morning, but he slid off backwards at a junction in SS15 and flattened his exhaust. Running with reduced power for 19km was enough to allow Colin McRae past the Estonian and Martin complained of a lack of grunt on the following stages too. Petter Solberg has struggled to find confidence in his car and pacenotes today, but the young Norwegian stayed close to the points thanks to the retirement of Auriol.
Quotes: Richard Burns said: ?I haven't lost as much time as I expected today. We've been close to Marcus on almost all the stages - to be honest, not being able to see the best lines has cost me more time than sweeping the road clean of loose gravel. The fight's not over but I've been pushing like hell and when you're on roads that you haven't competed on before you find yourself taking risks.?
Markko Martin said: ?It was going really well until I had my little off. You can see some of the lines in the road, particularly in the softer, slower corners, and that helps a little. But I wanted to set good times on this rally and that's what we've been doing, so I'm happy.?
Petter Solberg said: ?This rally is all about experience and I'm still finding place in my pacenotes where I'm not totally happy. That spoils your confidence for the really fast bits and it's the last few percent where you really lose the time. A lot of today's stages were new or relatively new to me and they've been hard.?
Technical: The three Focus RS WRC01s of Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz and Francois Delecour have been generally reliable today.
Sporting: Colin McRae started today's stages running sixth on the road and the Scot reckoned that swept-clean surfaces helped him to charge. He needed just two stages to inch past Didier Auriol and by the afternoon's second service, the 1995 world champion had moved clear of Markko Martin as well. He arrived back in Jyvaskyla in fourth and ready to challenge Burns for third tomorrow. Carlos Sainz felt his Focus was too soft on today's first pair of tests but the Spaniard was satisfied with a stiffer set-up later. He moved ahead of Petter Solberg on today's third test, then into the points when Didier Auriol hit trouble. Third Focus driver François Delecour has posted several fast times, including a second fastest in SS11, but the Frenchman felt very aggrieved at having to cope with slower driver Jouni Ahvenlammi's dust during this afternoon's stages.
Quotes: Colin McRae said: ?I don't think position on the road will make such a big difference tomorrow. We've been pushing hard today and apart from SS15, when my pacenotes weren't working so well, it's been good. I'm fairly confident I can catch Richard but equally, I'm not going to throw away fourth position trying to get an extra championship point.?
Technical: Juha Kankkunen's hopes of keeping his Accent WRC2 in the top ten were dealt a hammer blow on the way to this morning's first stage, when the four-times world champion discovered that his car was down on turbo boost. He had to contest three stages with the problem. The Finn encountered brake problems in SS16 and he was forced to retire. Alister McRae's and Kenneth Eriksson's cars have been troublefree, though.
Sporting: Alister McRae benefited from the retirements of Didier Auriol and Jani Paasonen - and team-mate Juha Kankkunen's turbo problems - to move into the top ten. The Scot posted respectable times throughout today's tests, though, and he overhauled Freddy Loix on the morning's opening stage. Juha Kankkunen dropped out of contention this morning when he suffered a complete loss of turbo boost for the day's first three stages. The four-time world champion then had to retire with a brake problem in Ouninhpohja (SS16). Kenneth Eriksson has been trying to regain confidence in his car, after some scary moment caused yesterday by handling and braking problems.
Quotes: Alister McRae said: ?It's going fine but sometimes in the really sandy stages it saps the power and I find myself changing down gears in fast corners. Otherwise the car's been as good as gold - long may it continue!?
Technical: Freddy Loix suspected that his Lancer suffered a braking and centre differential glitch this afternoon, and he spun as a result. He also reckoned his car was too softly sprung for the day's opening pair of tests. Toni Gardemeister, meanwhile, has been satisfied with his car's handling today after a complete transmission change last night
Sporting: Freddy Loix's concerns about soft suspension resulted in him dropping time to Alister McRae this morning, The Belgian was also passed by privateers Pasi Hagstrom and Juuso Pykalisto and he had to fight hard to stay in contention for a top-ten finish. Toni Gardemeister, meanwhile, moved up the leaderboard but the Finn's time loss yesterday meant he could only inch towards the top ten.
Quotes: Freddy Loix said: ?I'm still learning on every stage on this rally - about set-up, the lines, the braking, everything. It's such a specialised event.?
Technical: All of the Skoda Octavia WRC drivers complained of their brakes losing their bite after about 15km of hard use, but Armin Schwarz, Bruno Thiry and Stig Blomqvist had no major problems otherwise.
Sporting: On such a power-hungry event, the Skoda drivers have struggled to stay in the top 20 against privateer World Rally Car opposition and although Armin Schwarz fared best, the German held 19th as the crews travelled back to Jyvaskyla this evening. Bruno Thiry occupied 21st as stand-in navigator Georges Biar continued to acclimatise to his first gravel event in six years
Quotes: Bruno Thiry said: ?Georges is doing a great job and he's actually learning a lot of things that will help him when he goes back to preparing my gravel notes for me. He's learning more about what I actually want and need to know!?
Finnish privateer Jani Paasonen's promising run ended this morning when he rolled on the first left-hand corner of the day's opening stage He continued, only to slide off in SS15 and hit a tree stump. Juuso Pykalisto has brought his Corolla WRC into the top ten, while Pasi Hagstrom continues to post respectable times in his similar machine.
In the FIA Super 1600 Cup, overnight leader Sebastien Loeb lost a minute after a disagreement with a marshal, handing the lead to Francois Duval. But soft front shock absorbers cost the Belgian crucial seconds, allowing the recovering Loeb to reclaim the category lead. Early challenger Andrea Dallavilla lost time with a broken driveshaft on his Fiat Punto. In the Group N class for more standard cars, leader Jouko Puhakka lost time when he had to stop and change a puncture, allowing Jouni Ampuja and Marko Ipatti to fight for the category lead.
END OF LEG 2 RESULTS
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 2:35:24,0
2 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 2:35:38,2
3 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 2:36:02,3
4 McRae Ford Focus WRC 2:36:06,0
5 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 2:36:31,3
6 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 2:36:51,4
7 Lindholm Peugeot 206 WRC 2:37:47,9
8 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 2:37:50,7
9 Pukalisto Toyota Corolla WRC 2:38:54,5
10 A.McRae Hyundai Accent WRC 2:39:00,4
1 Ampuja Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 2:47:28,0
2 Ipatti Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 2:47:56,1
3 Puhakka Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 2:49:51,8
1 Loeb Citroen Saxon 2:54:54,1
2 Duval Ford Puma 2:55:11,3
3 Dallavilla Fiat Punto 2:59:18,6
SS10 - Gronholm, SS11 - Rovanpera, SS12 - Sainz, SS13 - Rovanpera, SS14 - McRae, SS15 - Rovanpera, SS16 - Rovanpera, SS17 - McRae, SS18 - Gronholm
SS14 Passonen Ford Focus WRC Accident
SS16 Kannkunen Hyundai Accent WRC Lack of brakes
SS13 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC Suspension failure
SS1 Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Hit stump
SS 10, Talviainen 1 30.30km 1st Car: 08:03
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 15:06,2
2 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 15:06,2
3 McRae Ford Focus WRC 15:10,1
4 Delecour Ford Focus WRC 15:12,3
5 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 15:15,6
SS 11, Vastila 17.40km 1st Car: 09:16
1 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 8:22,4
2 Delecour Ford Focus WRC 8:23,1
3 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 8:23,6
4 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 8:23,7
4 McRae Ford Focus WRC 8:23,7
SS 12, Paijala 12.81km 1st Car: 09:51
1 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 6:01,9
2 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 6:02,1
3 Lindholm Peugeot 206 WRC 6:02,2
4 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 6:02,4
5 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 6:03,2
SS 13, Ehikki 19.07km 1st Car: 11:58
1 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 9:18,5
2 McRae Ford Focus WRC 9:20,7
3 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 9:25,3
4 Paasonen Ford Focus RS WRC 9:26,7
5 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 9:27,2
SS 14, Parkkola 15.80km 1st Car: 12:36
1 McRae Ford Focus WRC 8:03,6
2 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 8:04,2
3 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 8:05,7
4 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 8:06,0
5 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 8:07,1
SS 15, Leustu 23.58km 1st Car: 13:14
1 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 11:38,3
2 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 11:43,5
3 McRae Ford Focus WRC 11:44,4
4 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 11:46,7
5 Delecour Ford Focus WRC 11:48,1
SS 16, Ouninpohja 1 34.11km 1st Car: 15:32
1 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 16:29,9
2 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 16:38,2
3 McRae Ford Focus WRC 16:41,9
4 Gardemeister Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 16:43,1
5 Delecour Ford Focus WRC 16:44,6
SS 17, Vaheri 25.42km 1st Car: 16:35
1 McRae Ford Focus WRC 12:20,6
2 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 12:21,7
3 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 12:23,0
4 Delecour Ford Focus WRC 12:23,4
5 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 12:24,2
SS 18, SSS Killeri 2 2.72km 1st Car: 20:15
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 1:20,3
2 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 1:21,0
3 Alen Ford Focus WRC 1:21,0
4 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 1:21,2
5 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 1:21,6
End of Leg 1
Friday, 24 August 2001
Peugeot drivers Marcus Grönholm and Harri Rovanperä have been fighting off a stiff challenge from Briton Richard Burns on the opening day of the ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the Rally Finland. Clear blue skies and dry conditions made the super-fast stages near the university town of Jyvaskyla quicker than ever but also handed later runners a small advantage with roads swept clean by the first few cars.
By early afternoon the leading trio had inched clear of Burns's Subaru team-mate Markko Martin and the privateer Ford Focus WRC of local driver Jani Paasonen. But there was an early surprise when world championship leader Tommi Mäkinen damaged his Mitsubishi on a tree stump barely four kilometres into the opening stage. The Finn - widely tipped to fight for victory on home turf - had to retire on the spot. The final few stages of today's schedule threw the top of the leaderboard on its head. Grönholm had to cope with two punctures and dropped to second, while Rovanperä suffered from broken right-front suspension and slipped to fifth, behind Martin and his Peugeot team-mate Didier Auriol. As a result, Burns assumed the overnight lead and the top five bunched together - they will start tomorrow's test separated by just over half a minute.
Technical: All three works Peugeot 206 WRCs have performed reliably today.
Sporting: Peugeot's two Finnish drivers have blocked out the top position today - Harri Rovanperä grabbed the lead on the opening stage and held it until SS3, when reigning world champion Marcus Grönholm took over. Rovanperä still held second, only a few seconds behind his team-mate. Didier Auriol lost a few seconds in SS2 when he became unsure of his car's handling but the 1994 world champion soon recovered and he held a top six position throughout the day.
Quotes: Marcus Gronholm said: ?It's a bit strange, because I still don't have complete confidence in the car on high-speed stretches, but it's obviously going quite well. This is a long rally, though, and tomorrow's stages will be very tough. Harri and Richard are both driving quickly enough to make sure that a mistake will be punished too.?
Harri Rovanpera said: ?We're pushing pretty hard but I'm still trying not to take any big risks. Position on the road might make a difference tomorrow if it stays dry but since I'm running ahead of Richard and Marcus today, there's not much that I can do about that. I just have to concentrate on driving and leave things like that up to them.?
Didier Auriol said: ?When I have a strong feeling with the car my times have been quite good. I'm not sure in some places that I could match Marcus or Harri, but we're still in a good position.?
Technical: The Impreza WRC2001s of Richard Burns and Markko Martin have been reliable, but Petter Solberg hit both rear suspension and centre differential problems in today's fourth stage.
Sporting: Subaru looks the most likely threat to Peugeot on this event, thanks to fast times from both Richard Burns and Markko Martin. Burns set fastest times on SS4 and SS5 to keep his Impreza in third and close on Harri Rovanperä's 206 WRC. Martin, meanwhile, set a string of top six times to hold fourth. Petter Solberg moved into the top ten before he hit suspension and transmission problems in SS4.
Quotes: Richard Burns said: ?We're running at 100 percent, not 98 percent. There isn't a lot left. I think the first couple of cars are probably cleaning the road a little but after that it doesn't make so much of a difference. I adjusted the rear differential at the first service and I feel more comfortable, more secure with the car now.?
Petter Solberg said: ?The problems were bad luck but I just have to keep concentration. Before that I was quite happy with how we were going.?
Markko Martin said: ?I made a few mistakes this morning - at some flat crests I lifted off and I even backed off at the pre-finish boards in SS2. But of course I'm happy to be putting in competitive times after a while away from the world championship.?
Technical: The Ford Focus RS WRC01s of Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz and François Delecour have been generally reliable today. Sainz did struggle to find reverse gear, though, when he suffered a slight overshoot in SS5.
Sporting: Perhaps hampered by running near the front of the field, Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae have struggled to match their rivals' pace today. McRae was able to hold a top ten position throughout, but Sainz dropped to 11th when he overshot in SS5 and a similar mistake from François Delecour kept the Frenchman in 12th . In fact, the top Focus was driven by privateer Finn Jani Paasonen - a number of top three times kept him in the points-scoring positions for much of the day.
Quotes: Colin McRae said: ?We're concentrating on keeping a good speed and not making mistakes - the guys who are fighting for the lead aren't as involved in the championship as we are. Ideally, of course, we'd like to be a bit quicker but we've had no major problems with the car so it's been good in that respect. If we're running further down the field tomorrow it could be better because then we can watch the front guys' lines over jumps and into corners.?
Carlos Sainz said: ?The overshoot was very annoying. I just missed my braking point and we went three or four metres too far, but I couldn't find reverse gear to get back on the stage. I stalled twice, then tried to go forwards and because the road was narrow I stalled again. If I'd managed to find reverse it would have cost me three or four seconds instead of 20.?
Technical: Tommi Mäkinen's hopes of breaking the all-time wins record by scoring a sixth victory on the Rally Finland ended after barely four kilometres. The Finn clipped a tree stump hidden by long grass on the inside of a corner and damaged his Lancer's suspension beyond repair. The other Lancer driver nominated for manufacturers' points, Toni Gardemeister, has been less than satisfied with his car's handling and played with suspension settings in an attempt to improve the situation. He lost his front brakes in SS5, though, and spun as a result. Third Lancer pilot Freddy Loix also felt that his car was too unstable in fast corners.
Sporting: World championship leader Tommi Mäkinen retired from the Rally Finland four kilometres into the first stage. The Finn clipped a tree stump that was hidden in long grass and damaged his suspension. Toni Gardemeister and Freddy Loix have struggled to get their Lancers into the top ten, thanks mainly to dissatisfaction with the car's handling in high-speed corners. Both held top 20 positions, however, by this afternoon's tests.
Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen said: ?It was our own mistake. We didn't have the stump marked our pacenotes and we hit it. It broke the left front suspension. Because we were turning the components were more exposed and it broke.?
Toni Gardemeister said: ?I was happy with the car after testing but for some reason, it doesn't feel quite the same. We'll have to try to find some different settings because it's not as easy to drive at the moment. We're going sideways everywhere.?
Technical: Alister McRae's and Juha Kankkunen's Accent WRC2 s have been reliable today, but Kenneth Eriksson suffered when a union broke and he lost centre and front differential pressure, and his power steering, in SS2. He repaired the problem for SS3 but still had to cope without front differential pressure, and since the team had insufficient time to effect repairs at the following service the Swede had to continue with the same symptoms for another two stages.
Sporting: Alister McRae and Juha Kankkunen have generally been closely matched on pace, and both drivers have fought hard to keep the Accent ahead of the local drivers in World Rally Cars. Kankkunen occupied ninth y early afternoon, with McRae less than 20s behind in 15th. Kenneth Eriksson started strongest of the trio but dropped out of contention when he hit transmission and steering problems.
Quotes: Kenneth Eriksson said: ?It's a shame that we couldn't do anything about the front diff because the car felt fine on the first stage.?
Juha Kankkunen said: ?It's like I said after the testing. We're going pretty quickly but others are going more quickly! The team does need to do a lot of work but I think the basic Accent package is pretty good. We'll keep trying and see what happens.?
Alister McRae: ?We had one overshoot today but otherwise it's been going okay. I picked the harder tyres for this morning's stages and I reckon a softer compound would have been better, but it was a small difference.?
Technical: Armin Schwarz struggled with tail-happy handling in his Octavia WRC this morning, while Bruno Thiry felt that his example needed slightly stiffer suspension.
Sporting: A mixture of small mechanical problems and a lack of sheer grunt needed for the fast Finnish stages meant that Armin Schwarz, Bruno Thiry and Stig Blomqvist struggled to hold down top 20 placings amid one of the WRC's strongest ever entries. Schwarz's cause wasn't helped by poor handling and a continuing inner ear infection that left the German deaf in one ear and suffering from poor balance. Blomqvist dropped outside the top 30 by early afternoon.
Quotes: Armin Schwarz said: ?I think we had a centre differential problem this morning because the car was oversteering like hell. But it was hard to really feel what was going on because the inner ear problem meant I had poor balance. All we can do is go at a speed where we don't make mistakes, and see what happens.?
Bruno Thiry said: ?It's been hard for Georges Biar to settle in to navigating me on such a quick rally.?
Outside of the factory entries, Jani Paasonen placed his privately-entered Ford Focus WRC into the top six for much of the day, despite spinning and stalling in SS5. Other fancied WRC runners hit problems - Sebastian Lindholm's Peugeot 206 suffered from brake difficulties and then lost its power steering, while Gilles Panizzi's Peugeot suffered from transmission glitches. The other local driver to feature strongly in a World Rally Car was Juuso Pykalisto, who placed his Corolla ninth after the opening five tests.
In the FIA Super 1600 Cup section, Sebastien Loeb took a narrow lead over fellow Citroen driver Niall McShea on this morning's opening test. The French driver eased clear before first service, but a spin in SS5 handed the category lead to Italian Andrea Dallavilla. McShea lost time when he was held up by the dust from Larry Cols, while Norwegian driver Martin Stenshorne and Finn Jussi Valimaki both suffered from gearbox problems. Belgian Francois Duval held third in the category, behind Dallavilla and Loeb.
As expected, the Group N category (for more standard machinery) is being led by local drivers, with Jouko Puhakka topping the timesheets in his Mitsubishi. Jouni Ampuja and Juha Salo rounded off the class podium by this afternoon's test.
END OF LEG 1 RESULTS
1 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 1:06:12,1
2 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 1:06:15,6
3 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 1:06:25,7
4 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 1:06:41,1
5 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 1:06:47,2
6 McRae Ford Focus WRC 1:06:55,1
7 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 1:07:01,9
8 Paasonen Ford Focus RS WRC 1:07:03,2
9 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 1:07:09,8
10 Kankkunen Hyundai Accent WRC 1:07:23,3
1 Puhakka Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 1:11:11,3
2 Salo Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 1:11:37,5
3 Ampuja Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 1:11:43,4
1 Loeb Citroen Saxon 1:15:02,0
2 Duval Ford Puma 1:15:40,3
3 Rousselot Ford Puma 1:18:15,2
SS1 - Rovanpera, SS2 - Gronholm, SS3 - Gronholm, SS4 - Burns, SS5 - Gronholm, SS6 - Gronholm, SS7 - Burns, SS8 - Martin, SS9 - Sainz
SS1 Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Hit stump
SS 1, alkola 1 8.42km 1st Car: 09:43
1 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 4:27,2
2 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 4:28,0
3 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 4:29,1
4 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 4:29,3
5 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 4:29,6
SS 2, Lankamaa 1 23.47km 1st Car: 10:26
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 11:33,5
2 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 11:33,8
3 Paasonen Ford Focus RS WRC 11:36,2
4 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 11:36,5
5 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 11:41,7
SS 3, Laukaa 1 12.40km 1st Car: 11:19
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 6:06,6
2 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 6:10,2
3 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 6:10,4
4 Paasonen Ford Focus RS WRC 6:11,9
5 Pykalisto Toyota Corolla WRC 6:12,7
SS 4, Mokkipera 13.38km 1st Car: 13:25
1 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 6:26,8
2 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 6:27,1
3 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 6:28,0
4 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 6:28,5
5 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 6:30,8
SS 5, Palsankyla 25.47km 1st Car: 14:06
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 13:48,7
2 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 13:49,2
3 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 13:50,7
4 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 13:52,9
5 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 13:56,7
SS 6, Valkola 2 8.42km 1st Car: 16:56
1 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 4:27,4
2 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 4:27,5
3 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 4:27,9
4 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 4:28,0
5 Rovanpera Peugeot 206 WRC 4:28,1
SS 7, Lankamaa 2 23.47km 1st Car: 17:39
1 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 11:35,4
2 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 11:36,8
3 McRae Ford Focus WRC 11:37,3
4 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 11:37,7
5 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 11:42,0
SS 8, Laukaa 2 12.40km 1st Car: 18:32
1 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 6:06,0
2 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 6:06,5
3 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 6:09,6
4 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 6:10,1
5 Lindholm Peugeot 206 WRC 6:11,1
SS 9, SSS Killeri 1 2.72km 1st Car: 20:00
1 Sainz Ford Focus RS WRC 1:21,2
2 Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC 1:21,2
3 McRae Ford Focus WRC 1:21,6
4 Auriol Peugeot 206 WRC 1:21,8
4 Martin Subaru Impreza WRC 1:21,8
Thursday, 23 August 2001
FIA World Rally Championship leader Tommi Mäkinen is one of several contenders for victory on the Rally Finland, the ninth round of this year's series which starts tomorrow morning. The local driver is a five-time winner of the event, which is based on fast, wide gravel roads near the university town of Jyvaskyla.
To succeed, Mäkinen will need to overcome challenges from countrymen Marcus Grönholm, Harri Rovanperä and Toni Gardemeister, and drivers like Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Carlos Sainz. The latter trio will be hoping to break a local stranglehold on the event - only two non-Scandinavian drivers (Sainz in 1990 and Didier Auriol in 1992) have ever claimed the honours on one of the WRC's most specialised rounds. The high average speeds, wide roads and huge jumps mean that experience and knowledge of the right lines - even on the straights - is crucial.
Mäkinen, McRae and Sainz all now have 23 WRC victories to their name and all three will be trying to make the record for most wins their own in Finland. The fourth man with 23 successes, Juha Kankkunen, is also present, having been drafted into the Hyundai squad for a one-off appearance. With veterans Stig Blomqvist and Markku Alen also contesting the rally in World Rally Cars, the scene is set for an intriguing battl between today's young chargers and the older generation.
MITSUBISHI (1st - 66 points)
Technical: Mitsubishi's engineers have worked hard to make sure that the current Lancer's revised rear suspension works effectively on the fast Finnish stages. But with development work on the forthcoming Lancer World Rally Car now in full swing before its debut in Sanremo, the current cars are largely unchanged in specification for this event. Ralliart has yet to fully discover why Freddy Loix's car suffered engine problems in Kenya.
Sporting: Current world championship leader Tommi Mäkinen will be aiming to break the record for rally wins on his home event, where he already has an exceptional record. The Finn won this rally five years in succession between 1994 and 1998. Mitsubishi is fielding three Lancers on this event, with Mäkinen joined in the manufacturers' points nominations by countryman Toni Gardemeister. The team's regular second driver, Freddy Loix, is therefore eligible for drivers' points only.
Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen said: ?I want to get my Rally Finland title back again after a couple of bad years here, and I'm quite confident. The car feels good, I know the conditions and stages well and I'm determined. But it'll be a big fight - I think any one of five or six drivers could win.?
Toni Gardemeister said: ?We've done quite a lot of testing to help me feel comfortable with the Lancer and it's worked. My target here is to get some points for Mitsubishi and myself, and if my times are close to Tommi's pace then I'll be happy.?
Freddy Loix said: ?The new rear suspension makes quite a bit difference to the handling here and I'm much happier with the car on Finnish roads than I was in 2000. I've never really gone too well here so I just want to see my pace improve.?
FORD (2nd - 60 points)
Technical: Ford has produced stiffer suspension for the Focus WRCs here. The team is still unsure of the reasons behind Carlos Sainz's engine failure in Kenya, though.
Sporting: Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae are nominated for manufacturers' points, with Francois Delecour aiming for drivers' points only.
Quotes: Colin McRae said: ?It'd be nice to win here but it's a tough event. Previous experience still makes a big difference here, although some of the traditional stages have been replaced so the Finns have lost a bit of their advantage. We were second here last year so I think the signs are encouraging.?
Carlos Sainz said: ?In a lot of ways this is the most difficult rally of the season for me. The roads are wide and fast, and knowledge is very important. It's a big challenge.?
Francois Delecour said: ?This is the hardest rally in the championship for me. It's so crucial to know the roads that you really have to have competed here five or six times before you can think of really challenging.?
SUBARU (3rd - 28 points)
Technical: Subaru has introduced revised propshaft joints on the Impreza WRC2001s on this event after concerns over breakages.
Sporting: Subaru has entered three Impreza WRC2001s in Finland. Richard Burns and Petter Solberg will both be nominated for manufacturers' points, while Markko Martin returns to WRC action aiming for drivers' points only. Subaru's fourth driver, Toshihiro Arai, is missing this event although the Japanese star completed the recce.
Quotes: Richard Burns said: ?We've been strong here before and I'm bringing the same attitude here this year - I want to win. We had a big disappointment in Kenya so I can't really think about the championship - I'll just try as hard as possible to win the rally and we'll see what happens.?
Petter Solberg said: ?I like this event a lot, particularly the jumps and the high speeds involved. But I haven't got a result planned in my head - I just want to drive my own event, see what my pace is and take it from there.?
Markko Martin said: ?This is the rally in the championship that I've got the most experience of so I'm looking forward to it. There should be quite a few fans from Estonia over here to watch so hopefully I can put on a good show and get a result here.?
PEUGEOT (4th - 26 points)
Technical: All three works Peugeot 206 WRCs will feature revised driveshafts after the team encountered problems in that area in Kenya. Marcus Grönholm and Didier Auriol have both opted to fit their 206s with six-speed gearboxes, while Harri Rovanperä uses a five-speed unit in his example.
Sporting: Peugeot has again nominated Marcus Grönholm and Harri Rovanperä for manufacturers' points. 1994 World champion Didier Auriol is therefore aiming for drivers' points only. The team's fourth driver, Gilles Panizzi, will tackle the event in a 206 WRC run by Italian private team Grifone.
Quotes: Marcus Gronholm said: ?We've had so much bad luck this year but I have high hopes for my home rally. We took a good win here last year and the car feels better now than it did then so hopefully our speed will be higher again. Of course it will be difficult - the rally has attracted a really good entry and there will be six or seven drivers challenging for the win.?
Harri Rovanpera said: ?It was good to get a podium finish on the last rally in Kenya but this will be a very different type of rally! We were good here last year in a private Corolla and finished third, so of course I hope that we do a bit better than that with the Peugeot. But the competition here will be very tough - it's hard to predict anything.?
SKODA (5th - 15 points)
Technical: Skoda has made slight revisions to the camshafts on the Octavia WRC's engines, following in-house work by the team's engineers in the Czech Republic.
Sporting: Armin Schwarz and Bruno Thiry will drive Octavia WRCs as usual, although the Belgian will be navigated by Georges Biar instead of Stephane Prevot. Prevot is still recovering from injuries sustained during the pair's accident on the Safari Rally last month. Schwarz himself is unwell - the German has been suffering from an inner ear infection prior to this event. Skoda has also entered an Octavia WRC for 1984 World Champion Stig Blomqvist. The 55-year-old Swede is tackling the Rally Finland for the 19th time this year.
Quotes: Armin Schwarz said: ?I've been feeling really ill, and I hope I get better prior by the time we drive over the ramp tomorrow morning. The car feels really strong and good and even though there's a terrific entry for this event, I'd like to think we can still get a good result.?
Bruno Thiry said: ?It's the first time in 11 years that I haven't had Stephane alongside me in the rally car and it'll be difficult for Georges to settle in because Finland's such a fast rally. But at least the car feels good during testing and shakedown.?
Stig Blomqvist said: ?It's nice to be back in a works car again and the Octavia has been working well in testing. I'm looking forward to the start.?
HYUNDAI (6th - 10 points)
Technical: Hyundai has extracted a little more top-end power from the Accent WRC2's engine for this event. That aside, the team used its break from the WRC (it missed the Safari) to concentrate on improving reliability and tweaking the dampers and transmission settings.
Sporting: Hyundai is sending three Accent WRC2s to this event. Kenneth Eriksson will be nominated for manufacturers' points as usual, but the second nominated car will be driven by four-times world champion Juha Kankkunen, who has been drafted into the squad for his first WRC outing of the year. Alister McRae will therefore challenge for drivers' points only - the event marks his and navigator David Senior's 50th appearance at world championship level.
Quotes: Kenneth Eriksson said: ?I think this could be a very hard event. On the sandy stages where we're running twice the road will cut up quite badly - I don't think the organisers should have made that schedule. The sandy roads really sap the engine power and that's where we could lose out but the car feels like it's handling quite well.?
Juha Kankkunen said: ?It's always nice to come back into the world championship, especially when it's Finland. We have to be realistic and say that winning here will be very difficult, but I have been impressed by the Accent. It's got a lot of potential and if the team continues progress it could be fighting for wins next season.?
Citroen's Xsara WRCs are not present in Finland, as the French team prepares for its two outings in Sanremo and Corsica in October
The Rally Finland has attracted 165 entries (150 crews will start), with a host of privately-run World Rally Cars ready to challenge for top ten placings. Among the more fancied runners are current FIA Teams Cup leader Pasi Hagstrom (Toyota), Sebastian Lindholm (Peugeot), Jani Paasonen (Ford), Janne Tuohino (Toyota) and Juuso Pykalisto (Toyota). Finnish veteran Markku Alen is also contesting the event in a Ford Focus WRC. The event is a counting round of the FIA Super 1600 Cup, where Citroen Saxo driver Sebastien Loeb is hoping to continue his unbeaten run in the series. The Frenchman will face competition from local driver Jussi Valimaki (Peugeot), Andrea Dallavilla (Fiat) and Cedric Robert (Peugeot).
Pirelli is supplying its teams with two types of tyre - the K (for hard surfaces) and KM (for soft or sandy surfaces). Michelin, meanwhile, is offering three options - the Z is for clear, hard ground, the ZA will be used on damp or loose surfaces and the ZE is available for damp ground or loose gravel.
Leg 1, Friday 24th August (491.85km)
SS 1 09:43 Valkola 1 8.42km
SS 2 10:26 Lankamaa 1 23.47km
SS 3 11:19 Laukaa 1 12.40km
SS 4 13:25 Mokkipera 13.38km
SS 5 14:06 Palsankyla 25.47km
SS 6 16:56 Valkola 2 8.42km
SS 7 17:39 Lankamaa 2 23.47km
SS 8 18:32 Laukaa 2 12.40km
SS 9 20:00 SSS Killeri 1 2.72km
Leg 2, Saturday 25th August (703.60km)
SS 10 08:03 Talviainen 1 30.30km
SS 11 09:16 Vastila 17.40km
SS 12 09:51 Paijala 12.81km
SS 13 11:58 Ehikki 19.07km
SS 14 12:36 Parkkola 15.80km
SS 15 13:14 Leustu 23.58km
SS 16 15:32 Ouninpohja 1 34.11km
SS 17 16:35 Vaheri 25.42km
SS 18 20:15 SSS Killeri 2 2.72km
Leg 3, Sunday 26th August (482.81km)
07:00 Start from Jyvaskyla
SS 19 09:53 Moksi-Leustu 40.84 km
SS 20 12:11 Talviainen 2 30.30 km
SS 21 13:39 Ouninpohja 2 25.20 km
16:24 Finish of the rally in Jyvaskyla
CHARACTER OF THE EVENT
The fastest special stage rally in the series, held on wide, hard packed, undulating sandy roads. Categorised by teams as a smooth gravel rally. No fewer than 165 cars will be allowed to start, the final time so many can contest a World championship rally because of impending limits on entry numbers. This event does not qualify for the Teams' Cup.
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP NEWS
Following Makinen's win on the Safari Rally, Juha Kankkunen, Carlos Sainz, Colin McRae and Tommi Makinen himself all start this event having won 23 World championship rallies in their careers. This is the first World rally event in which six registered manufacturers' teams have each entered three cars, although Citroen is not participating in Finland.There have been three mid-summer developments in Super 1600. Firstly the Swiss driver Cyril Henny has withdrawn from the series. Secondly the British driver Niall McShea has moved from Ford to Citroen, the first driver in the series to change car allegiance. Thirdly, as from Sanremo, Citroen will no longer be allowed to run their four-port (34mm restrictor) induction system.
NEWS FROM THE TEAMS
MARLBORO MITSUBISHI RALLIART (1st - 66 points)
Tommi Makinen (Car 7), Toni Gardemeister (Car 16), Freddy Loix (Car 8)
This event will be the Mitsubishi debut for ex-SEAT and Peugeot driver Toni Gardemeister, who is due also to drive for Mitsubishi in New Zealand. Ralliart manager George Donaldson: "I am getting butterflies in the stomach just thinking about the close battles to come during the rest of the year. Seven or eight different drivers could easily expect to get a podium finish here."
FORD MOTOR COMPANY (2nd - 60 points)
Carlos Sainz (Car 3), Colin McRae (Car 4), Francois Delecour Car 17)
Priority development work has centred on steering problems experienced by McRae in Kenya. Team director Malcolm Wilson said "We have never had a failure like this before. We have solved the problem, using a locking device to retain the steering arm in the rack." The team still do not know why Sainz's piston failed in Kenya. The Czech Jolly Club Focus entry for Roman Kresta is not likely not to start because of team's internal problems.
SUBARU WORLD RALLY TEAM (3rd - 28 points)
Richard Burns (Car 5), Petter Solberg (Car 6), Markko Martin (Car 18)
Burns: "This is one of my three favourite rallies. I've often been close to winning but haven't won it yet. I am keeping up my efforts to win the title while its still mathematically possible to be champion!" Markko recently won the EOS Rally in his native Estonia, run on similar roads to Finland. Subaru has decided not to enter the world championship candidate event Hokkaido Rally in Japan.
TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL (4th - 26 points)
Marcus Gronholm (Car 1), Harri Rovanpera (Car 16), Didier Auriol (Car 2)
This will be Harri Rovanpera's 50th entry on a World rally. The two Finns have been registered for Makes' points, so once again Auriol is de-nominated. Team Director Jean-Pierre Nicolas "We are really focussed. We had such a bad start to the season we want to have as good a run of success as last year in the second part!" Of the six remaining events this year, Peugeot won five last year. No decision yet whether to run five- or six-speed gearboxes.
SKODA MOTORSPORT (5th - 15 points)
Armin Schwarz (Car 11), Bruno Thiry (Car 12), Stig Blomqvist (Car 21)
Stig Blomqvist has his first rally in a WRCar. "When I heard that Markku had a Focus to drive on the rally I knew I had to have a World Rally Car as well!" Georges Biar has been selected as his codriver for Thiry, replacing Stephane Prevot who was injured during the Safari Rally. Biar has been Thiry's regular gravel note crew but has not contested an actual event since 1995. Prevot is still under orders not to move much but at least the pain in his back injury has eased.
HYUNDAI CASTROL WORLD RALLY TEAM (6th - 10 points)
Kenneth Eriksson (Car 9), Juha Kankkunen (Car 20),Alister McRae (Car 10)
This is the 50th World rally for Colin's younger brother Alister McRae and also guest driver Kankkunen's tenth anniversary of his first '1000 Lakes' win. McRae, nicknamed the 'Ralf Schumacher' of rallying, said "I am still in line for my first big win. It took Ralf 70 Grands Prix before his first victory!" Senior event engineer Graeme Garvin: "It was interesting to see how Juha focussed our attention in car set-up during testing. It is exactly how someone with such experience can help."
AUTOMOBILES CITROEN (not competing here, not eligible for points)
Team driver Philippe Bugalski has been gaining valuable winter rally driving experience! He was invited to Argentina to drive the zero car at the Rally del Fin del Mundo based at Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, the world's most southerly motor sport event.
OTHER TOP RUNNERS IN FINLAND
There was a last minute decision to enter the Argentine drivers Gabriel Pozzo and Marcos Ligato. Top Run preparation chief Michele Agnello: "It was a surprise gift from our team! This event was never originally in their programme. It was to thank them for their business over the past two years." When he heard this, four times Group N champion Gustavo Trelles immediately changed his plans and entered as well! Last minute uncertainty for reigning Group N champion Manfred Stohl entered on this event in the Super 1600 category with codriver Ilka Petrasko, still recovering from her broken leg suffered during the Acropolis.
No fewer than 63 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution cars have been entered in world championship, Group A or Group N form - but only one of them will be the latest Evo VII model! This is from the Japanese privateer Wakujiro Kobayashi. "I nearly had to withdraw because I had a crash in my car. But I bought another Evo VII so I could take part."
Hail the returning veterans! Markku Alen (winner of 20 world championship rallies) makes his first World rally entry for seven years, at the wheel of a private Ford Focus WRC. Stig Blomqvist, World champion in 1984, is guest driver for Skoda who celebrate their 100th year in motorsport. And four times champion Juha Kankkunen (world rallying's most experienced driver) drives a Hyundai on his first World rally this season.
This is the first event in which non-registered drivers will also take part with Super 1600 cars, in this case the British championship leader Martin Rowe. While registered FIA contenders must run Michelin control tyres, Rowe is able to run Pirellis but he cannot use the collective FIA Super 1600 on-event areas.