The eighth round of the World Rally Championship is soon upon us as the Rally Finland takes place in and around the city of Jyväskylä from 28th to 31st July. The Rally Finland is a gravel event and this year will comprise of 24 stages over three legs and a total of 333km of competitive distance.
And as ever there will be no shortage of ŠKODA FABIA R5 cars on the starting line looking to perform well and – with several also fighting at the top of the WRC2 championship standings – score vital points towards their title push as well.
This is a designated ŠKODA Motorsport round and our works team will be represented by the Finnish pairing of Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm, and the Swedes Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson (read more in ŠKODA Motorsport’s preview).
But there will also be a number of customer teams putting ŠKODA FABIA R5 cars through their paces. For Team Oreca, Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula have enjoyed a stellar season in WRC2 so far. They will be going for a hat-trick of wins here at the Rally Finland after back-to-back WRC2 victories at the Rally Italia Sardegna and the Rally Poland.
With another victory also on the board at the Rally Guanajuato Mexico earlier this year, they are sat in second place in the WRC2 standings, just five points behind the leader, and are looking well placed to mount a serious championship challenge. They will be especially keen to do well here at their home rally.
Also taking part will be the Australian duo of Scott Pedder / Dale Moscatt. This will be their third WRC2 event of the season. After making an impressive debut in the ŠKODA FABIA R5 with a 4th place finish at the Rally de Portugal, they were less fortunate in the Rally Poland when a racing incident forced them to retire. They performed well in Finland last year and will be looking for a similar showing in a ŠKODA this time round, to get their season back on track.
The Ptock team of Poles Hubert Ptaszek / Maciej Szczepaniak are also looking to step up and end their run of bad luck in WRC2 events. After being forced out the Rally de Portugal by an injury suffered by Szczepaniak, and after also failing to finish in Poland, they will be keen to make amends here.
The other two ŠKODA FABIA R5s entered in the Rally Finland are both driven by local Finnish drivers. Jukka Metsälä and co-driver Sari Ohra-Aho had a good run-out in finishing seventh at the AutoGlym Ralli in preparation for this event. Meanwhile, for Kari Hytönen and Ada Herranen, the Rally Finland will be their debut drive in a ŠKODA FABIA R5.
Here at ŠKODA Motorsport we will be keeping a close eye on the performances of all our drivers during the course of the rally, and you will also be able to keep track of all the latest news and developments at the ŠKODA Motorsport social media channels and on the ŠKODA Motorsport website.