Sweden - 7-10 Feb 13

Posted: February 1, 2014 7:35 PM - 5118 Hits

Round 2 - 2013 World Rally Championship

Hollywood steals the show in Sweden

Posted: February 1, 2014 7:35 PM

More than 15 years after he last contested a rally in a rear-wheel drive car, Petter Solberg won the historic section of Rally Sweden, co-driven by his wife Pernilla in a Ford Escort MkII built by the company owned by his former co-driver Phil Mills.

Petter and Pernilla tested the Viking Motorsport car for just 40 kilometres before the start, while Petter’s last rally in a rear-wheel drive car was in 1996 at the wheel of an original Volvo 240. But it was as if he had never been away as he dominated some of the most famous snow-covered stages in the world.

“It was a fantastic experience!” said the 2003 World Rally Champion. “Completely different to anything I have done before but incredible! To see all the fans on the stages and feel their support was an amazing experience. It wasn’t an easy rally for us – we were using organisers’ pace notes like everyone else and we also had a jammed gearbox – but in the end we were able to win, which means a lot to me and a lot to the team.”

The gearbox problem meant that the Ford Escort was stuck in gear for the Karlstad superspecial stage, but some swift work from Petter’s mechanics meant that he was able to seal the overall victory – despite paying little attention to the recommendations from Phil Mills.

“Phil said that we mustn’t rev the car more than 9400rpm, but actually we were shifting at 10400rpm all the time!” said Petter at the finish. “This car just revs and revs: it’s an unbelievable sound. Today was all about putting on the best show we could for the spectators and I hope we gave them something to remember: we were certainly trying.”

Behind every strong man there is an even stronger woman, and Pernilla Solberg admitted that she took a little time to adapt herself to the organisers’ pacenotes. “I don’t think I’m very good at reading pacenotes,” she said. “On the first stage I was way too fast: I think I was halfway through the stage on my notes before Petter had even driven two kilometres! Then on the second stage I was much too slow. By the end I think I had found more of a balance…”

This was Petter’s second victory in Sweden, to add to the overall win he claimed in 2005 with Subaru. Unbelievably, his speed ensured he would have finished somewhere around 20th overall on the full World Championship event had he done all the stages – despite using a 37-year-old car with just two driven wheels, over roads that were often too slippery to stand up on.

Petter will now concentrate on preparing for his first rallycross campaign this year, again running a car with his own team. As the popular Norwegian puts it himself: “This is my life”.

DMACK Celebrates New Year With Improved WRC Pace

Posted: February 1, 2014 5:34 PM

Anglo-Chinese tyre manufacturer DMACK has marked the Chinese New Year today by continuing its fine run of top-ten finishes in the FIA World Rally Championship. After an impeccable drive on this weekend’s Rally Sweden, Martin Prokop’s seventh overall is the tyre manufacturer’s fourth top-ten result in the last four world rally events.

The winter rally was a success for DMACK after the team struggled on last year’s snow event. But a focus on technical development during the year saw its much-improved DMG-ICE studded winter tyre help deliver some impressive stage times and performances.

The new tyre features an open V pattern to deal with loose snow and 384 metal pins, each 6.5mm in length, to bite into ice – but it was the new technique by which pins are inserted into the tyre which made the greatest difference. In conjunction with its motorsport partners in Finland, DMACK developed a unique in-house studding system which saw enhanced levels of stud retention. The tyre also benefitted from a new compound and stiffer construction to give drivers increased traction and stud performance on ice and frozen gravel.

Initially DMACK’s hopes were rested on Finn Jari Ketomaa who was on top form after a stunning overall victory on the Rally Liep?ja-Ventspils last weekend. But, after setting some impressive times on the opening stages, a broken driveshaft on his Autotek Ford Fiesta RS WRC forced him to retire from day one action. His problems were compounded when co-driver Kaj Lindstom lost his voice and the pair were unable to restart this morning.

Norwegian Eyvind Brynildsen, DMACK’s other Scandinavian star, surprised everyone with his day one times. Proving DMACK’s improved pace on snow, he posted stunning WRC2 stage times before also succumbing to mechanical woes.

That left Prokop, in another Fiesta WRC, and Motorsport Italia driver Michal Kosciuszko in his Lotos MINI WRC to carry the mantle. The tricky mix of rutted frozen roads and loose snow delivered some tough winter conditions, but Prokop never put a wheel wrong all weekend. His seventh place finish also elevates him to seventh overall in the drivers’ championship. Kosciuszko had some problems on the first day but his speed improved significantly over the weekend.

The results, however, mark a much-improved step-up in performance from DMACK. Its focus on learning at the top of the sport is paying dividends with super results on the first two specialist events of the championship. DMACK now heads to Rally Mexico where the more traditional gravel roads could see the fine collection of top-tens keep rolling in.

Dick Cormack, DMACK motorsport director, said:
“Ever since we entered the WRC in 2011, DMACK has constantly been developing and evolving its tyres in front of the world’s media. This weekend’s results again confirm our ongoing improvement and, importantly, increasing positive feedback from WRC drivers. Some of the conditions on this event, and also in Latvia last weekend, were incredibly tough and the hard work on studding systems by our partners in Finland has allowed our tyre to be right up there on the pace.”


Posted: February 1, 2014 5:32 PM

As the competitive action crossed the border into his native Norway, Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg maintained a strong pace to claim his third successive podium in Rally Sweden today. The second round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) also proved fruitful for Qatar World Rally Team’s Thierry Neuville and Juho Hänninen who displayed flashes of speed to secure fifth and sixth places respectively with Østberg’s team-mate, Evgeny Novikov, recovering from a roll in ninth.

Continuing M-Sport’s illustrious form on the snow-covered stages, the outfit’s range of Ford Fiesta rally cars dominated the top-ten. Seven M-Sport built Fiestas scored points on this weekend’s event. Not only did Østberg claim a podium in the WRC, but Yazeed Al-Rajhi put in a sensational performance as he piloted his Ford Fiesta RRC to victory – and tenth place overall – in the WRC-2 series.

Looking to battle for victory, Østberg’s campaign on the snow-covered stages got off to a difficult start. With his Ford Fiesta RS WRC suffering a water leak on Friday’s first stage (SS2), the Norwegian was forced to turn mechanic on the liaison to SS3. Incurring a 20-second penalty for a late check-in due to his delays, the team’s young charge found himself on the back-foot for the remainder of the rally.

Yet ever determined, Østberg proved that his technical skills are just as effective as his skills behind the wheel and ushered in a resurgent comeback to climb from fifth to third place overall by the end of the second day.

Embarking on a nail-biting battle with last year’s victor, Jari-Matti Latvala, for third position on the final day, Østberg had the edge. Continuing to control his pace perfectly, the 25-year-old claimed a string of competitive times – including a stage win on SS21 and the final point on the end-of-event Power Stage (SS22) – to confirm what has become a regular podium slot on the wintry stages.

Impressing on what was only his second venture to Rally Sweden, Neuville displayed real potential on his least preferred surface. Using the event to perfect a new pacenote system, the Belgian kept his Fiesta RS WRC clear of trouble whilst showcasing flashes of speed. Securing a joint stage victory on Saturday evening’s Super Special in Karlstad (SS8), the youngster also claimed the laurels in the coveted Colin’s Crest Award – launching his Fiesta some 35 metres to the admiration of hundreds of fans lining the stage.

The Belgian continued his impressive drive over the final day. Keeping clear of the unforgiving snow banks, Neuville piloted his Fiesta to fifth place overall and his career best result from a winter rally.

Having been tied in a close battle with Neuville for much of the event, Hänninen kept a consistent pace until he became lodged in a snow bank on Saturday’s final stage (SS16) and was forced to forfeit his position to his young team-mate. But ever growing in confidence, the Finn kept his composure to secure a strong sixth place at the end of the event.

Also proving his capabilities as a world class competitor, Novikov impressed on his second assault at the snow-covered classic. Despite using the event to build his knowledge and experience of the specialist stages, the Russian was lying in a creditable fifth position and was rarely less than a few seconds shy of the fastest stage times.

But disaster was to strike on the second pass of the Kirkenær Special Stage (SS20). Carrying too much speed into a low-gear corner, the Muscovite rolled his Fiesta RS WRC costing him valuable minutes and relegating him to ninth place overall. Yet despite shattering the windscreen and causing some minor damage to the panels, the Fiesta proved a reliable contender – and Novikov an undeterred driver – as he went on to post the fourth fastest time over the following test (SS21).

Finally, standing in for an unwell Nasser Al-Attiyah, Matthew Wilson was left to plough the snow at the head of the field. Following a roll during Saturday’s competitive action, the Brit was subjected to making tracks for the following pack and unable to set competitive times. Making it to the end of the event, Wilson secured 27th place overall.

Mads Østberg (3rd) said:
“It was quite tricky today. We were struggling a bit on the first stages – especially on the narrow stuff. I was just not happy with the balance of the car and didn’t trust the front so we lost a bit of time there. But then on the wider sections we managed to take some time back.

“We made a few small changes after the first few stages and eventually we found a set-up that helped and were able to really take some time out of Jari-Matti [Latvala] which was important.

“I am pleased with the way we have fought back after all the troubles on the first day. It was very disappointing for me and it was hard work to find the next gear. But overall I think we have fought back to a reasonable position and scored some good points for the championship.”

Thierry Neuville (5th) said:
“I’m really pleased with the way we have performed on this rally. We drove a lot steadier today because the conditions were quite tricky especially on SS21. We drifted slightly into a snow bank and lost a bit of time there. Luckily the car didn’t get stuck, but that did cause me to back off a bit more.

“We have done a lot better than I expected this weekend. If somebody had offered me fifth place at the start of the rally, I would definitely have taken it. We also claimed the Colin’s Crest Award which was quite a nice way to reward the team who have provided us with a perfect car throughout the event. I wasn’t flat-out over the jump, so we’ll call this year a practice and I might go even further next year!”

Juho Hänninen (6th) said:
“Today was OK with no major dramas. It was a little bit difficult because there was no real fight after I lost time yesterday. I just drove on the safe side and enjoyed these nice Norwegian stages.

“I much prefer it when you have these exciting battles – it gives you that extra momentum to push. But today we did not have that and I didn’t want to take any big risks chasing times.

“But all in all I think the rally has been good for us. There were some really nice stages and the car felt great. I’m a little disappointed with the pace, but as the same time I need to be realistic. For me it has been difficult to be at the same pace at the guys at the top. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve competed here and this is such a fast event that experience counts for a lot.”

Evgeny Novikov (9th) said:
“[The roll on SS20] was my mistake. I was just a bit late with the braking into a tricky, narrow, slow right-hand corner and we rolled. The main thing I felt was disappointment at losing the time. It wasn’t a big accident though and it looked a lot worse than it was.

“The positive thing is that we had some very good speed on this rally and got to the finish. Of course fifth place would have been better, but the speed was there and I will now be in a much stronger position for next year.”

Matthew Wilson (27th) said:
“Being first on the road today has been a bit of a nightmare to be honest. We’ve just been taking it steady and making sure that we got to the end. The thing is whenever we tried to even slightly push we just ended up losing the line so it was not easy at all. I must admit that it is not so much fun when you’re out in front ploughing the road for everyone else.

“However, I’ve really enjoyed being back in the rally car. It’s never easy coming to an event like this with so little preparation. I’ve not been here for a couple of years, we didn’t really have much of a test and Gio [Bernacchini, co-driver] and I had to work hard to get used to each other’s methods. As I say, it’s not been easy, but it has been a lot of fun.”

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“We’ve seen some fantastic performances from all our Fiesta drivers today and it’s a nice sight when you look at the times to see seven of our cars occupying the top-ten. Obviously I’d like to congratulate Sébastien [Ogier] on the win – he drove fantastically all weekend and his first win with the new car is well deserved.

“Following the disappointment on the first day, we achieved our objectives and Mads [Østberg] did well to fight back to a podium position. Realistically I think that this was the best we could have hoped for after the issues on Friday morning and Mads is now in a strong position in the championship [third in the Drivers’ standings]. Thierry [Neuville] too was very impressive. He approached the event perfectly, learnt a lot, and secured a fantastic result – not only for the team but for himself too.

“Finally I need to commend Yazeed’s [Al-Rajhi] performance in WRC-2. To come to an event like Sweden – when he is used to the sand of the Middle East – and take the victory from some of the local guys is absolutely fantastic. He can be very proud of the job he has done and it just goes to show how competitive the whole range of Fiestas can be.”


Posted: February 1, 2014 5:30 PM

Jarkko Nikara, driving his John Deere-supported MINI John Cooper Works WRC, set three top ten stage times on the final day of Rally Sweden, as he continued to sweep the road for the following drivers. Indeed it would have been four top tens, but for stalling off the line on stage 21, which cost him around ten seconds.

Sweden is only the Finnish driver's second outing in a World Rally Car, following his amazing fifth place on his debut at Rally Spain in November. Nikara's poor road position over the weekend hampered his progress. It was initially a consequence of missing qualifying after a high speed accident during free practice, but then he lost 45 minutes in a snow bank on stage three, meaning he was set to sweep the road for the rest of the rally. The highlight of his weekend was his third place on stage 12.

Dave Wilcock, Prodrive WRC Team principal said:
"You have to say that Jarkko has driven his first full snow event in a WRC very well. Despite driving on loose snow at the front of the field, he has still been able to demonstrate his raw pace with some excellent splits, while showing maturity to complete all 22 stages. Only the excursion into a snow bank on stage three has cost him a top ten finish, which in a field of this strength, with so many full works drivers with so much testing under their belts would have been quite an achievement. I look forward to seeing him back in the car for Portugal and hopefully some further events. All he needs is time behind the wheel to really show his true potential."

Jarkko Nikara said:
"When the roads were clear and icy the car was really fun to drive, but when there was loose snow on the surface it was much harder for me. I have definitely improved as the event has gone on and I am pleased with my speed and I have learnt the car more and more as I only had 70km of testing before the event. The other guys here have had a lot more time in their cars and they know these stages much better than me, so I am pleased with my performance. I am now looking forward to Portugal. I drove there in 2009 in group N and it is an event I like."

Nikara will compete for the Prodrive WRC Team at Rally Portugal in April and it is hoped to add further events including Finland.


Posted: February 1, 2014 5:28 PM

After pushing hard all the way on day three of Rally Sweden, Se?bastien Loeb and Daniel Elena finished the event as runners-up, 41.8s behind the winners. In scoring two points in the Manufacturers’ World Championship, Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen ensured Citroe?n Total Abu Dhabi WRT stayed top of the overall standings.

After the first two legs were conventionally configured, the final day of Rally Sweden had a more unusual set-up. The morning's action featured five stages, totalling no fewer than 75 kilometres, which were completed without any service period. After a brief stop in the small town of Torsby, the crews rounded off the day with the 19.26km-long Power Stage.

Despite knowing deep down that he could not close the gap to Se?bastien Ogier in normal racing conditions, Se?bastien Loeb went on the attack in the first few stages. He also took one spare tyre with him, unlike most of the other competitors, who took two.

On Mitandersfors (SS17), a stage that begins in Sweden and ends in Norway, he made up 3.3s on the leader. Seb then repeated the feat on Finnskogen 1 and Kirkener 1 (SS18 and SS19), closing to within 20.7s of the pacesetter:
“I’m pushing as hard as I can! But on a stage like Finnskogen, you can’t really make up much time. I’m keeping up the pressure on Seb [Ogier] by driving like this, but you have to say that he is having a perfect race.”

The fight effectively ended on SS21, when ‘Loebinen’ had a major scare: “I had decided to push a bit less, but it was at that point that I hit a snow bank. I really eased off after that...”

Seb had no doubt thought about Dani Sordo, who was caught out like many before him by the deep snow-covered verges that run alongside the Scandinavian roads.
“I was fairly pleased with how I had started the day,” reported the Spaniard. “We had really improved the set-up of the car again and I felt comfortable. I had taken eighth place from Martin Prokop and everything was going well. But on SS20, I hit a bank of snow, which was hiding a large rock. We went off pretty hard and the car was too badly damaged for us to be able to continue.”

Back in Sweden, the rally stopped off in Torsby for a fifteen-minute remote service. Equipped with new Michelin X-Ice North tyres, the competitors headed off on the final stage. Whilst Seb made sure of second place, Mikko pushed hard to try and pick up some bonus points. Unfortunately, he fell slightly short, taking the fourth fastest time...
“We knew it would be difficult, but we had to give it everything,” concluded Mikko. “We nonetheless scored two extra points for Citroe?n in the Manufacturers’ World Championship. There’s not much more I can say about this rally. I am already focussed on Mexico.”

“I think I lost the rally on Thursday morning during qualifying,” analysed Se?bastien Loeb. “We had decided to change the set-up, but it didn’t work out and the gap grew throughout day one. From then onwards, we matched Se?bastien Ogier, but it was too late. Congratulations to him and his team for this first win, they produced a flawless performance this weekend.”
“I would also like to congratulate the winners of the rally, who produced a perfect performance. It gives us an idea of how tough this season, which has only just started, is going to be. Our performance levels were in line with our objectives, but we’ll now need to complete error-free rallies if we are going to win races”, concluded Yves Matton, Citroe?n Racing Team Principal “The Citroe?n Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team is still leading the Manufacturers’ World Championship and we’re ready to defend this position.”

Ogier triumphs in Sweden – Volkswagen claims maiden victory in the World Rally Championship

Posted: February 1, 2014 5:26 PM

A milestone for Volkswagen in motorsport: Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (F/F) have won the Rally Sweden at the wheel of the Polo R WRC. In doing so, Volkswagen has already far exceeded its own expectations of what is the team’s debut season in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). In only its second competitive outing, the 315-hp World Rally Car from Wolfsburg emerged triumphant on the Scandinavian ice and snow against strong opposition – including nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb (Citroën).

Eleven best times from 22 special stages – Ogier and Ingrassia led the overall standings right from the word go, and refused to be shifted from the top spot until they reached the finish on Sunday afternoon. Ogier set the foundation for the success in qualification on Thursday, when he clocked the fastest time to finish seven places ahead of the multiple world champion. Loeb eventually ended the rally 41.8 seconds behind his fellow Frenchman. Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) finished fourth in the second Polo R WRC to complete an outstanding team result for Volkswagen.

A special win: Sébastien Ogier’s eighth victory in the World Rally Championship

Sébastien Ogier and Volkswagen’s win at the Rally Sweden will take a special place in the history books of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC): Ogier’s eighth success is only the second by a central European at the Rally Sweden since 1950. Up until now, the event had been won almost exclusively by Nordic drivers – Sébastien Ogier joins multiple world champion Sébastien Loeb as only the second winner of the “Sweden” to come from outside of Sweden, Norway and Finland. Loeb was the first to break the Nordic countries’ stranglehold in 2004.

Ice, snow and cold – extreme weather, unique conditions

The Rally Sweden is one of a kind on the calendar of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). It is the only rally held exclusively on ice and snow. The teams use special Michelin “Sweden studs” and the winter specs for the World Rally Cars at the Rally Sweden, as well as special Castrol oils for the engine, gearbox and differentials. The Polo R WRC was surprisingly strong in the extraordinary conditions in Sweden: in total, the car picked up 28 top-three results over the course of the 22 special stages.

Power Stage turns the balance: Ogier takes over at the top of the World Rally Championship

Sébastien Ogier won the so-called Power Stage, which is making its first appearance this season, to move ahead in the overall WRC standings. Extra World Championship points are up for grabs for the drivers finishing first, second and third. Ogier now leads the Drivers’ Championship, three points ahead of Loeb.

The next round of the World Rally Championship takes place from 7th to 10th March in Mexico, with the rally centred around León.

Quotes, Day Three of the Rally Sweden

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #7
“I am delighted for the entire Volkswagen team. To win a race so early in a debut season is something very special. I would have liked to finish on the podium myself. That was certainly possible here at the Rally Sweden with the Polo R WRC. However, I must still adapt my driving style a bit. Huge compliments go to my team-mate Sébastien Ogier, who showed just what was possible. He was really impressive all weekend. I will do everything in my power to get on a par with him at the forthcoming rallies.”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #8
“That is an indescribable feeling! We were screaming with joy in the car. It is simply incredible to claim the first victory for Volkswagen and the team at only our second rally. This is probably the greatest moment of my career. The Polo R WRC was perfect the entire time. The guys did a fantastic job of preparing the car. So much can happen in Sweden. The conditions in the snow are so difficult – winning here, as only the second central European and ahead of the best rally driver of all time, makes me enormously proud. We had to give 100 per cent, right down to the final day, because Sébastien Loeb was really going for it right through to the finish. I feared that he would make up more time this morning, particularly on the opening ‘Mitandersfors’ stage. However, that was not the case. Now I am just overjoyed.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“This is a big day for Volkswagen in motorsport. To win the second round of the World Championship under our own steam is a real milestone. The Rally Sweden is one of a kind. The Polo R WRC worked perfectly in these conditions, and Sébastien Ogier took full advantage. He was in a class of his own here. However, Jari-Matti Latvala also performed well. Within the team, all the cogs fit into place perfectly. Today I am just very proud of the guys.”

And then there was ...

... Sébastien Ogier’s car engineer Gerard Jan de Jongh. The Dutchman has waited seven years for his first WRC victory as the engineer responsible for the car. Today that dream came true. However, de Jongh will not be up all night partying – he has been down with a bad dose of the flu since Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia crossed the finish line.


Posted: February 1, 2014 5:24 PM

Hollywood’s Swedish warm-up for his RallyCross return

Posted: February 6, 2013 3:13 PM

Former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg will bring a smile to the face of every fan when he starts this week’s Rally Sweden Historic in his Ford Escort Mk2.

Solberg’s Swedish outing is expected to be his only rally of the season as the man they call Hollywood prepares for his return to RallyCross. Petter announced last week that he will contest the four 2013 X Games events in a sensational 600bhp Citroen.

Before taking to the circuit, however, there will be one more run in the snow this week.

Solberg, who will be co-driven by his wife Pernilla, says his sole aim is to be as sideways – and as quick – as possible through some of the best stages in the world on what will be his only WRC outing of the 2013 season.

The Norwegian superstar is driving an Escort built by the man who won the world title alongside him in 2003, Phil Mills. Mills’ firm Viking Motorsport has rapidly developed a reputation for being among the world’s finest builders of historic-specification rally cars. Petter drove the Escort for the first time on the Finnskogsvalsen Rally last month and knew immediately that he had to be in Sweden.

“Pernilla and I wouldn’t miss Rally Sweden for anything,” said Petter. “I know what it’s like for the fans in Sweden, they are standing out in the temperatures like minus 20 or something like that – and we want to give them a drive which will warm them up and make them smile. We will be full sideways and we will be having so much fun. This car is fantastic, Phil has done an amazing job. It looks fantastic, but it sounds… just unbelievable. I’m going to be enjoying myself on the inside and I want to make sure everybody having the same feeling on the outside!

“After this, my year gets more serious with the RallyCross projects and some other work I am doing, but in Sweden it’s all about making people smile. You can tell them all, Hollywood is back in town. Once we have done this rally, then we are really working flat-out to get the RallyCross cars ready for the first event – I am so excited about this season!”

Rally Sweden Historic starts with exhibition driving in Karlstad on Thursday February 7, before a run through the Vargasen test and the superspecial at Farjestadstravet on Friday. The main competition for the Historic event runs on Saturday, when Petter and Pernilla will race the Escort through two loops of Sagen, Frederiksberg, Rammen and Hagfors Sprint – starting each of the stages after the main WRC field has passed through. The Historic event comprises 84 competitive kilometres and finishes on the evening of Saturday February 9.

Solberg is no stranger to the Swedish fans. He has competed on this event 13 times – it was the first round of the World Rally Championship he ever drove on, back in 1998. He has finished on the podium in Sweden three times and, of course, took a two-minute win on Rally Sweden in 2005.

Petter Solberg enters Historic Rally

Posted: January 26, 2013 10:18 PM

Petter Solberg has entered the Historic Section of the Swedish rally in his recently acquired Ford Escort MkII BDA.
His wife Pernilla will co-drive.


Posted: January 12, 2013 1:38 PM

The Prodrive WRC Team will run Jarkko Nikara at Rally Sweden in February.

This will be the young Finnish driver's second outing with the MINI WRC, following his excellent debut at Rally Spain in November where he finished fifth, despite it being only his first competitive outing in a World Rally Car.

Prodrive, business development director, Richard Taylor, said:
"Nikara's mature performance on the tarmac in Spain was even more extraordinary given it wasn't his favourite surface and that he only had 50km of testing in the MINI prior to the event. He clearly has a great deal of talent and if he can continue from where he left off in Spain, I am sure he can produce another great result."

In Sweden, Nikara will run alongside the Motorsport Italia MINI of Michal Kosciuszko.

It was previously announced that the Mentos team would start their WRC 2 campaign in Sweden in the MINI S2000. They will now start their campaign in Portugal.

Event Website / Details

Posted: December 25, 2012 9:55 PM

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