KNA RALLY FINNSKOG
Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen overcame a variety of extreme conditions – snow, ice and temperatures of around -30° – combined with the handicap of being first out on the road towin the 2012 Rally Finnskog.
The Finnish crew finished some 30.5s ahead of their nearest rival. The perfect “warm-up” for the DS3 WRC ahead of the second round of the World Rally Championship next week. Competitors were greeted with arctic conditions this morning, but engines could be heard being fired up in the service park despite the glacial -32°C proudly displayed on the top of the buildings in the event’s nerve centre.
The schedule for this one day rally featured 117 kilometres of special stages through forests in theNorwegian region of Svullrya. There were four timed stages in total, each to be completed twice, interspersed with three 30-minute service periods. The Citroën DS3 WRC began the first loop in the best possible fashion, setting the fastest time on all four stages, despite being first out on the road.
“Our feeling with the car improved the further we went. Going first meant we nonetheless had to clear the fine layer of snow covering the frozen ice”, explained Mikko. “We thought that the conditions would be better on the second runs, but they actually turned out to be more difficult due to the other competitors having completed their runs”.
The Nordic crew were however not far off the pace and held onto the lead in the second loop to claim top spot on the podium.
“We are very happy to have won, and especially to have beaten the other WRCs competing here. This has confirmed that we found the right set-up in testing. The conditions were similar to those we will have at Rally Sweden, so we’re confident. We have a very positive feeling. The DS3 WRC is genuinely quick in the most extreme conditions”, concluded the Finnish driver.
OVERALL STANDINGS1 Hirvonen / Lehtinen Citroën DS3 WRC 1:02:30.72 Solberg / Minor Mitsubishi Evo 6 +30.53 Ostberg / Andersson Ford Fiesta RS WRC +49.84 Gunnar / Axelsson Proton Satria +2:56.65 Mikkelsen / Floene Skoda S2000 +3:01.76 Brynildsen / Menkerud Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3:02.5