Teemu Asunmaa extends Finnish Championship lead with Tahko Ralli victory
Teemu Asunmaa (title photo above) continues to lead the way in the Finnish Rally Championship (FRC) after his second win - and third maximum points haul - of the season at the Tahko Ralli.
The Tahko Ralli was the third round of the 2017 FRC season and the last snow and ice event of the year. And it was another close event with Asunmaa, who missed out on victory to youngster Kalle Rovanperä by 10.7 seconds in the previous round at the Vaakuna Ralli, winning this time by a margin of just 6.2 seconds in near perfect conditions in central Finland.
The result means Asunmaa and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen, whose FABIA R5 is run by Hannu's Rally Team, extend their lead at the top of the Finnish Championship standings to 23 points.
Whilst Asunmaa took the headlines, there were plenty of other good performances from ŠKODA FABIA R5s. Marko Mänty and Joni Mäkelä, who were driving for the Printsport Oy team, enjoyed their best ever finish in a FABIA R5 after securing 4th place overall. For the experienced Finnish driver, the result was all the more impressive given that he was feeling unwell at the start of the rally.
The other FABIA R5 from Hannu’s Rally Team was driven by Mikko Lehessaari / Reeta Hämäläinen. They managed to come home in 6th place overall, which is their best result of the season so far.
The results of Asunmaa and Mikko Lehessaari have left their Hannu’s Rally Team leading the way in their championship by a margin of 35 points, which has pleased team principal Hannu Lehessaari a great deal.
Further down the field, Dutchman Kees Burger and his Finnish co-driver Mikko Lukka finished in 12th place overall for the Jan Dohmen Rally Team, while the TGS Worldwide OU FABIA R5 of Alex Forsström / Eetu-Pekka Hellsten were one place further back in 13th overall.
The next round of the Finnish Rally Championship will be the Riihimäki-Ralli which takes place on 19th and 20th May.
2017 Tahko SM Ralli
Improving Miguel Barbosa finishes fourth at Rali de Castelo Branco in Portugal
The Rali de Castelo Branco was the 2nd round of the Portuguese Rally Championship and it was the 9-stage event consisting of 118 km of competitive distance on the asphalt of central Portugal.
Miguel Barbosa and his co-driver Miguel Ramalho went into the event in confident mood and drove consistently throughout. The highlight for them was undoubtedly the Super Special Stage, which they finished in second place, but fourth-placed finishes in six of the nine stages ensured that was to be their place in the final standings as well. It was nonetheless an improvement on their sixth-place finish at the event last year and the seventh place they secured in the opening round of the Portuguese Championship at the Rali Serras de Fafe.
Pedro Meireles and his co-driver Mário Castro had won that opening round, so they came into this event on a high and were very disappointed to be forced into retirement after the opening stage.
They will be hoping to get their campaign back on track at the next round of the Portuguese Rally Championship, which will be the Azores Rallye taking place from 30th March to 1st April.
2017 Rali de Castelo Branco
David Bogie wins Malcolm Wilson Rally ahead of British Rally Championship curtain-raiser
David Bogie enjoyed a perfect final dress rehearsal ahead of the start of the British Rally Championship (MSA BRC), as the Scottish driver won the Malcolm Wilson Rally in his ŠKODA FABIA R5.
Co-driven by Kevin Rae, the 2011 British Rally Champion set the fastest time on four of the event’s seven stages to win the gravel rally, which was run in the picturesque forests of Comb, Wythop, Greystoke and Grizedale in the north-west of England, by a margin of 20 seconds.
Having been 29th after the opening stage, Tom Preston and Andrew Roughead fought back well to bring their FABIA R5 home in 12th position.
Reigning Irish Forest Rally Champions Desi Henry / Liam Moynihan were running third overall in their FABIA R5 going into service after SS4, but they fell out of contention when a burst brake pipe left them with no brakes for the next two stages.
The British Rally Championship begins with the Border Counties Rally which takes place on the 17th and 18th March.
2017 Malcolm Wilson Rally
NEWS IN BRIEF
- Benito Guerra Jr and Borja Rozada enjoyed a dream debut in their FABIA R5 as they finished 3rd in the WRC2 standings at the Rally Guanajuato México for the Motorsport Italia team.
- At the Rallye Régional de l'Or - Pays de Jumilhac in the French Rally Cup, Anthony Puppo / Jérémy Cenci made it two wins in two weeks in their FABIA R5 after victory at the Rallye Régional de Vaison-la-Romaine last time out.
- At the Mayo Stages Rally, which was the first round of the regional Border Rally Championship in Ireland, Joseph McGonigle / Ciaran Geaney steered their McGeehan Motorsport prepared ŠKODA FABIA R5 to victory in an event which served as preparation for the upcoming West Cork International Rally in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.
- At the LBC-Ruschen in Sweden, Kjell Sandberg / Göran Lönnmark brought their FABIA R5 home in 3rd place overall, while Lars Stugemo / Karl-Olof Lexe finished 8th. Meanwhile, Niklas Hägg / Christer Carlsson took their FABIA S2000 to an impressive 5th position for the L. Häggsbildemontering AB team.
- Slovak driver Martin Koči and his Czech co-driver Lukáš Kostka have confirmed they will be driving a FABIA R5 in the Slovak Rally Championship as well as selected WRC2 events this year. The current Junior WRC runners-up will be driving for Styllex - L Racing team in a car from the Czech team Keane Motorsport.
COMING UP THIS WEEKEND
|16-19 Mar||RALLY DEL CIOCCO E VALLE DEL SERCHIO||Italian Rally Championship||Round 1||Asphalt|
|17-18 Mar||SPA RALLY||Belgian Rally Championship||Round 2||Asphalt|
|17-18 Mar||BORDER COUNTIES RALLY||British Rally Championship||Round 1||Gravel|
|17-18 Mar||REBENLAND RALLY||Austrian Rally Championship||Round 1||Asphalt|
|17-18 Mar||RALLYE LE TOUQUET - PAS DE CALAIS||French Tarmac Rally Championship||Round 1||Asphalt|
|17-18 Mar||RALLYE SIERRA MORENA||Spanish Rally Championship||Round 1||Asphalt|
|18-19 Mar||WEST CORK INTERNATIONAL RALLY||Irish Tarmac Rally Championship||Round 2||Asphalt|