FINLAND. Jyväskylä: Elfyn Evans and co-driver Scott Martin claimed a fifth WRC event victory in their Toyota Yaris defeating Hyundai’s Ott Tanak by 14.1sec at Rally Finland. Tänak finished second with a margin of 28.1sec ahead of Breen. Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin won the rally for the first time and the second of their season. Their team, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, successfully defended their titles this time.
Esapekka Lappi, the winner in 2017 finished fourth and 16.6sec behind Breen. Ogier ended fifth plus he was hit with a 60sec penalty on Saturday night for not fastening his crash helmet strap correctly earlier in the day. Gus Greensmith completed the top six in a Ford Fiesta.
With this win, Evans cut Ogier’s championship lead to 24 points and team Toyota increased its manufacturers’ championship lead over Hyundai Motorsport to 61 points. Evans won the Wolf Power Stage to claim five bonus points. WRC 2021 Secto Rally Finland celebrated its 70th anniversary this time. Held for three days over the weekend, this year’s Rally Finland route was 1059.64 km in length featuring 19 stages.
Three days of adventure
On Friday, the race started on the streets of Jyväskylä followed by five forest stages with the day ending in Oittila. As the first day of racing progressed, Craig Breen unseated team-mate Ott Tänak by 2.8 sec during the racing through the forest. Evans outpaced others through Oittila special stage to claim the fastest time. At the end of the first day, Breen and Tänak shared two stage wins each, and Evans improved his position from fifth to third. Kalle Rovanperä had to retire as his Yaris suffered frontal damage after drifting wide and smashing into an earth pile.
The second day of the race consisted of two loops of four stages around Jämsa. Evans was the fastest on all the four-speed tests and climbed from third to first ending the day with a 9.1sec lead leaving Craig Breen and Ott Tänak trailing. Esapekka Lappi retained the fourth position and ended the penultimate leg 25.3sec after Breen. Championship leader Sébastien Ogier was fifth. Thierry Neuville had to abandon the race in the final forest stage due to radiator damage in his car resulting in water leakage. Ford Fiesta duo Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux were sixth and seventh. Takamoto Katsuta retired from eighth when the right rear suspension broke due to an awkward landing of his car.
The Sunday was with repeated passes of Laukaa and Ruuhimäki with Ruuhimäki hosting the Wolf Power Stage. Evans kept up a relentless pace on Sunday and won three of the final four tests including the Wolf Power Stage for a final tally of nine fastest stage times out of 19 to secure the fifth WRC rally victory of his career.
WRC Rally Finland – Race Result
- Elfyn Evans & Scott Martin (Toyota Gazoo Racing), (Time taken – 2:19:13.7), Position: 1st
- Ott Tänak & Martin Järveoja (Hyundai Shell Mobis), (Time taken – 2:19:27.8), Position: 2nd
- Craig Breen & Paul Nagle (Hyundai Shell Mobis), (Time taken – 2:19:13.7), Position: 3rd
Championship standings after WRC Rally Finland
- Ogier – 190 pts
- Evans – 166 pts
- Neuville – 130 pts
- Rovanperä – 129 pts
- Tänak – 128 pts
Manufacturers’ standings after WRC Rally Finland
- Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT– 439 pts
- Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT – 378 pts
- M-Sport Ford WRT – 171 pts
A maximum of thirty points remains on offer in each of the remaining two stages as the championship heads to Salou, Spain next for Rally RACC Rally de España scheduled from October 14 till October 17, 2021.
About WRC 2021 Secto Rally Finland
The 2021 Rally Finland was a motor racing event for rally cars participating in WRC held between October 1 and 3, 2021. The Rally Finland celebrated its seventieth anniversary this year. The event was the tenth round of the 2021 World Rally Championship based in Jyväskylä in Central Finland.
The rally is driven on wide and smooth gravel roads, featuring blind crests and huge jumps. The Rally Finland is the fastest event in the World Rally Championship and is also popularly known as “Grand Prix of Rallying” and the “Grand Prix on Gravel”.
2021 Secto Rally Finland Background
Rally Finland was first instituted under the name Jyväskylän Suurajot in the year 1951. Originally the rally stretched till Lapland in Northern Finland, the route was split into several special stages in the mid-1950s. It became part of the European Rally Championship program in 1959. After the start of the World Rally Championship in 1973, the event became the Finnish round in the series.
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile or International Automobile Federation (https://www.fia.com/) (FIA) is an association established on June 20, 1904. FIA works across three key interlinked areas of activity i.e.: Sport, Campaigns, and Mobility, and promotes motorsport and road safety around the world.
To catch hold of the latest and related sports news please visit the Sports Section of Transcontinental times.