ŠKODA is keeping up the speed. At the eighth round of the season in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), the teams relying on the FABIA R5 are the ones calling the shots again on Saturday. In particular, the ŠKODA Motorsport duo Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm, who with a controlled attack extended their lead further in the WRC2 category classification.
Behind them, their team-mates Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson staged a thrilling duel for second place with the ŠKODA customer drivers Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula. However, it was Lappi who delivered the highlight of the day when he won the legendary “Ouninpohja” stage, beating championship leader Elfyn Evans (GB, Ford) by five seconds.
The high average speed that the WRC2 teams reached on Saturday on the gravel tracks to the south-west of the university city of Jyväskylä impressed Tidemand.
The longest day of the Rally Finland in terms of classified kilometres had a delayed start for the WRC2 field. The first pass of “Ouninpohja” on Saturday morning was abandoned after one of the World Rally Cars was involved in an accident. And things could get turbulent again on Sunday: Light rain showers are forecast for the area to the south of Jyväskylä, where the closing special stages “Lempää” and “Oittila” will each be driven twice.
Rally Finland 2016 – WRC2 classification after 20 of 24 stages:
- Lappi / Ferm (FIN/FIN); ŠKODA FABIA R5: 2h26m24.4s
- Suninen / Markkula (FIN/FIN); ŠKODA FABIA R5: + 46.9s
- Tidemand / Andersson (S/S); ŠKODA FABIA R5: + 58.0s
- Evans / Parry (GB/GB); Ford Fiesta R5: + 2m08.4s
- Kruuda / Jarveoja (EST/EST); Ford Fiesta R5: + 3m30.2s
The number of the day: 122.8
It’s not without reason that the Rally Finland is also referred to as the “Grand Prix of Finland”. After all, eight of the ten fastest WRC rallies of all time have been held in the forests around Jyväskylä. And this year the speed at which the rally drivers are tearing through the special stages is higher than anywhere else on the WRC calendar. Since the ultra-fast stages “Ouninpohja” and “Päijälä” were on Saturday’s agenda, the average speed of leaders Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm increased to an impressive 122.8 km/h. By way of comparison: At the Rally Portugal in May, the average speed of winners Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson was 88 km/h.