Great success for ŠKODA at the Rally Finland. ŠKODA drivers dominated proceedings in the WRC2 category at the festival of speed in the forests of central Finland, the fastest rally on the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar.
The “Flying Finns” Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm repeated last year’s victory in the FABIA R5. In second place: their ŠKODA brand team-mates Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula, who competed in a FABIA R5 from the ŠKODA customer sport programme. The second ŠKODA Motorsport duo of Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson retired from the rally during the final special stage after impressive efforts to catch up.
Lappi laid the foundations for victory on Thursday and Friday. The 25-year-old Finn won the first seven special stages to put some distance between himself and the chasing pack early on. Lappi cemented his lead with five stage best times during the remainder of the rally, including a win on the legendary “Ouninpohja” stage at full speed over countless crests.
In many respects, team-mate Tidemand was the man of the day at the Rally Finland. The 25-year-old Swedish driver started the final day 11.1 seconds behind second-placed Suninen. Tidemand recorded the best time in the first three special stages on Sunday morning to reduce the gap to 3.8 seconds. However, an accident on the last stage of the rally brought the chase to an abrupt end.
Suninen was the one to profit from Tidemand’s misfortune, finishing safely in second place and reducing the gap to world championship leader Elfyn Evans (Ford, 95 points) to two points in the WRC2 overall standings. Lappi’s win moved him up to fourth place (57 points) in the world championship standings. Two more ŠKODA customer teams completed the great set of results. Hubert Ptaszek / Maciek Szczepaniak and Scott Pedder / Dale Moscatt also finished in the Top 10 of the WRC2 standings in Finland, in seventh and eighth position respectively.
The next world championship rally is scheduled to take place in less than three weeks. The hunt for world championship points will take place in the vineyards around Trier when the Rally Germany takes place from 18th to 21th August.
Rally Finland 2016 – WRC2 final results:
- Lappi / Ferm (FIN/FIN) ŠKODA FABIA R5 2h42m59.6s
- Suninen / Markkula (FIN/FIN) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 41.7s
- Evans / Parry (GB/GB) Ford Fiesta R5 + 2m01.8s
- Solberg / Minor (N/A) Ford Fiesta R5 + 5m58.1s
- Gilbert / Jamoul (F/F) Citroën DS3 R5 + 6m00.6s
- Aasen / Engan (N/N) Ford Fiesta R5 + 7m04.3s
- Ptaszek / Szczepaniak (PL/PL) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 7m23.5s
- Pedder / Moscatt (AUS/AUS) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 7m33.5s
- Bonato / Giraudet (F/F) Citroën DS3 R5 + 7m48.4s
- Shaymiev / Tsvetkov (RUS/RUS) Ford Fiesta R5 + 14m42.3s
The number of the rally: 86.9
The ŠKODA FABIA R5 was clearly the fastest car in the WRC2 class at the Rally Finland. At the fastest rally of the year, ŠKODA drivers triumphed in 86.9 percent of the special stages (20 out of 23). This was impressive proof of the level of performance that the high-tech four-wheel-drive car from Mladá Boleslav provides. The winning duo of Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm claimed 12 special stage best times. Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson won five stages in the second FABIA R5 from ŠKODA Motorsport. Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula, who were competing in a FABIA R5 from the ŠKODA Motorsport customer sport programme, were fastest on three special stages.