The World Rally Championship (WRC) season will continue this weekend with the Arctic Rally Finland. Hyundai driver Ott Tänak is looking to open his season point tally after dropping out of the season opener in Monte Carlo.
The Arctic rally is a replacement for Rally Sweden, which was cancelled at the end of 2020 due to increased restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The replacement rally near Rovaniemi, Finland, however is quite a substitute when it comes to snowy conditions. Rally car pilots must handle the slippery and snowy roads, which adds another factor to the manufacturers' tire choices.
The conditions are likely most suitable for Toyota drivers, whose base in Europe is located in Finland. In addition, Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans kicked off their seasons in Monte Carlo well, taking the top two podium places.
Ott Tänak and Hyundai were left disappointed after the opening round of the season and the team will head to Finland with their eyes glued to the top positions. While Thierry Neuville was able to finish third in Monte Carlo, Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja were forced out of the rally after punctures derailed them. Tänak's recent victory in the Otepää Winter Rally however proved once again that the Estonian is fast when conditions get cold.
The 2019 world champ downplayed his troubles in the season opener: "I would say the emotions were not really clear coming away from round one. We had a lot of minor issues during the event since the very beginning in Monte-Carlo so we really don't know our performance compared with Toyota. For sure, they are strong, but I think we would have been strong also if things had run smoothly."
He added that the northern roads will be a difficult challenge, especially when it comes to catching up to Toyota, but he stated his belief in his Hyundai.
Full schedule for WRC Arctic Rally Finland:
Friday, February 26:
SS1 Sarriojärvi 1 (31.05 km) 3.08 p.m.
SS2 Sarriojärvi 2 (31.05 km) 6.38 p.m.
Saturday, February 27:
SS3 Mustalampi 1 (24.43 km) 9.08 a.m.
SS4 Kaihuavaara 1 (19.91 km) 10.38 a.m.
SS5 Siikakäma 1 (27.68 km) 12.08 p.m.
SS6 Mustalampi 2 (24.43 km) 3.38 p.m.
SS7 Kaihuavaara 2 (19.91 km) 5.08 p.m.
SS8 Siikakäma 2 (27.68 km) 6.38 p.m.
Sunday, February 28:
SS9 Aittajärvi 1 (22.47 km) 10.08 a.m.
SS10 Aittajärvi 2 (22.47 km) 1.18 p.m.
Drivers rankings for the season:
1. Sebastien Ogier 30
2. Elfyn Evans 21
3. Thierry Neuville 17
4. Kalle Rovanperä 16
5. Dani Sordo 11
6. Takamoto Katsuta 8
7. Andreas Mikkelsen 6
8. Gus Greensmith 4
9. Adrien Fourmaux 2
10. Eric Camilli 1
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste