Rally Finland: Day 1
A good start for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in Finland
The home event for the Toyota Yaris WRC is underway following this evening’s opening stage of Rally Finland in Jyväskylä, where Ott Tänak and Kris Meeke both placed inside the top three. Tänak had earlier set the quickest time in the pre-event shakedown.
Shakedown was held on a 4.26-kilometre course at Vesala, giving teams and drivers a last chance to practice ahead of the event. While Tänak was quickest, Jari-Matti Latvala and Meeke were just 1.2 seconds slower, sharing the sixth best time.
The opening Harju stage was just 2.31 kilometres in length and combined both gravel and asphalt sections. Tänak was 0.7s off the fastest time in second place, with Meeke a further half a second back in third. Latvala was equal sixth fastest, and is only 2.4s off the lead going into the first full day of action.
Tom Fowler (Technical Director)
“Shakedown this morning was just about checking that the cars were working as they should. Ott obviously had a very competitive time, and Jari-Matti and Kris were also right up there, but the times were very close between all the top contenders, as is often the case in Finland. It was a positive start, with no technical issues, and we confirmed the setups that we had during the pre-event tests. We’ve obviously had a strong package here in the last two years, but we know that we need to keep moving forwards because our competitors are also trying to improve. The difficulty is having the confidence to make changes when you know you’ve been so strong in the past. We try to stay to what we know, so the setups here are similar to last year with just very small tweaks.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“The Harju stage is always a special way to start this rally, and it’s actually quite a tricky one, but we had a clean run. Everything was good during shakedown, we didn’t have any issues. We had a good pre-event test, and we also did Rally Estonia, so I think we’ve been preparing as well as possible for this rally. For the moment it’s all looking good, but I’m sure it will be a big fight. Tomorrow will be a challenge for us as we will be first on the road, so we need to focus on having a strong day.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“It’s great to get the rally started in front of the Finnish crowds here in Jyväskylä. There is so much support and that gives me motivation and confidence for the rally. In shakedown I had a very good feeling immediately from the first run, and the second run went very well, I was really happy. After that we made some modifications to the car and it was not as good, and the road started to cut up quite a lot. But the first two runs are the most important and based on that, it’s looking good for the weekend.”
Kris Meeke (Driver car 5)
“It’s great to get this rally underway: We had a pretty good run in the first stage. Shakedown this morning went OK. On the first run I landed off a jump a bit in the bank on the left and so I picked up a puncture, but after that the feeling was quite OK, although the shakedown stage wasn’t so representative of what’s to come. It’s a special feeling to be taking part in the home event for the team, and the goal is to try and bring home a perfect result on Sunday. I want to get quickly into a rhythm tomorrow and enjoy the weekend.”
End of day one (Thursday):
1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 1m47.3s
2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +0.7s
3 Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1.2s
4 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +1.3s
5 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger-Amland (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2.2s
6 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2.4s
7 Teemu Suninen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2.4s
8 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2.4s
9 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +3.1s
10 Kalle Rovanpera/Jonne Halttunen (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo) +4.8s
(Results as of 21:30 on Thursday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
What's next?A total of 10 stages make up the first full day of Rally Finland, beginning with the Oittila stage. A quartet of stages – Moksi, Urria, Ässämäki and Äänekoski – will then be run twice either side of mid-day service, before a repeat of Harju in the evening.
Key stage: Moksi (SS3 & SS7, 20.04 kilometres)
Miikka Anttila (Co-driver car 10): “Moksi is a nice stage with the beginning section that was new for everybody last year. It’s a challenging stage as the rhythm changes a lot, between narrow, technical roads and wider roads, some of which are very fast. I think there should be some benefit starting further back on the smaller roads.”
Press kit and Event pictures will be uploaded here
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