Arctic Rally Finland (WRC) - 26-28 Feb 21

Posted: February 19, 2021 7:12 AM - 1591 Hits

Round 2 - 2021 World Rally Championship

Live Results: ewrc-results.com or rally-base results
News: www.wrc.com
Event Website: Arctic Rally Finland WRC

First stage each day - Irish/UK Times
Shakedown Fri - 06:31
SS1 Fri - 13:08
SS3 Sat - 07:08
SS9 Sun - 08:08

Hyundai Motorsport Preview: Round 2 – Arctic Rally Finland

Posted: February 19, 2021 7:12 AM

Hyundai Motorsport is banking on a strong performance at Arctic Rally Finland, the second round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), taking place on February 26-28.

The all-new event on the WRC calendar sees the team head into the unknown at the only full-snow event of the season. Held in the Rovaniemi region, temperatures can dip below -30°C while reduced daylight hours mean some stages will take place in darkness.

As well as having to create their pace notes from scratch, crews will face a true challenge on the frozen Arctic Circle roads. Ten stages cover 251.08km of competitive distance; snowbanks and studded tyres will be key elements to a successful run in what is likely to be one of the fastest events of the year.

Hyundai Motorsport will be targeting a more competitive performance than at last month’s season-opener, Rallye Monte-Carlo, in which the team claimed a third-place podium finish with the new partnership of Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe.

The Belgians (#11) will be one of three Hyundai Motorsport crews to battle the elements in the inaugural Arctic Rally Finland. Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (#8) will be hoping for better fortunes than they experienced in Monte, while Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (#42) take part in their first WRC outing of the new season. Each of the three crews has tested the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in extreme conditions ahead of the event, which begins with shakedown on Friday morning.

After a ceremonial start in Rovaniemi, crews will head north to tackle the longest stage of the event twice. Saturday covers over half the competitive distance of the rally, with two loops of three stages to the east of the service park. Two stages make up Sunday’s agenda; extra points are on offer in the closing Power Stage for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ battles.

Team Principal Andrea Adamo said: “It’s no secret that our season didn’t begin in the way we had planned in Monte-Carlo. Arctic Rally Finland gives us the opportunity to rectify this. All three drivers have finished on the podium in previous full-snow events, so we know they are capable of great speed in tricky conditions. A brand-new event is an exciting challenge, but there is no room for resting on laurels. We will have to be at the top of our game on all three days – nothing less than victory will be a good result.”

Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (#11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) First event of the new partnership delivered a third-place podium finish
Belgian crew looking to make rally-on-rally improvements in full-snow conditions

Neuville said: “Aside from our recent pre-event test, the only time I had been in Rovaniemi before was for a test with the team many years ago. It’s proper winter conditions, lots of snow on the stages, huge snowbanks and quite narrow in places. It’s a challenging profile but one we are really looking forward to. We were able to pick up a podium in Monte-Carlo, in our first competitive rally together, so the target for Martijn and I is to build some momentum and aim to deliver another solid result for the team.”

Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (#8 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Crew retired early from the season-opener, Rallye Monte-Carlo
Estonians on the hunt for their first podium finish of the new championship in Finland

Tänak said: “Arctic Rally Finland will be a very interesting event. Rovaniemi is very far north in Finland so it is certain to be cold and snowy. I competed there about ten years ago, so I have some experience of a few of the stages. It’s definitely a full snow event and I’m sure it has a rightful place on the WRC calendar. We will be aiming to get our championship off to a proper start after the disappointment and challenges of Monte, targeting a more representative result for ourselves and the team.”

Crew Notes: Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (#42 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Arctic Rally Finland marks first event of the 2021 season for #42 crew
Irishmen looking to get their championship off to a positive start

Breen said: “I am thrilled that Paul and I get to start our 2021 championship at a brand-new event for the WRC, a rally that is going to be an amazing adventure for us all. We can be quite sure that we will have cold weather and big snowbanks at Arctic Rally Finland. It’s important for Paul and me to start our season in the right way. It will take a bit of time to get back into the swing of things again, but we can’t wait for it.”

Weekend at a Glance
After an early Friday morning shakedown, Rally Arctic Finland kicks off with two passes of Sarriojärvi (31.05km), with the second attempt taking place in the dark of night Saturday’s itinerary covers almost 14 hours, with two runs of Mustalampi (24.43km), Kaihuavaara (19.91km) and Siikakämä (27.68km) split by a 30-minute Flexi Service. The debut Arctic Rally Finland comes to a close on Sunday with two passes of Aittajärvi (22.47km).

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing heads north in search of further snow success

Posted: February 19, 2021 7:06 AM

After making a near-perfect start to the 2021 season on Rallye Monte-Carlo last month, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team will target another strong result on Arctic Rally Finland on 26-28 February. Making its debut in the FIA World Rally Championship, the event takes the place of the cancelled Rally Sweden as the season’s only pure winter round. The team will travel north from its base in central Finland aiming to continue the strong record of the Toyota Yaris WRC on snow and ice, having claimed three victories in Sweden in the past four seasons.

Following his record eighth Monte-Carlo victory, Sébastien Ogier leads the championship just ahead of team-mate Elfyn Evans (who won for the team in Sweden in 2020) while Kalle Rovanperä is fourth – and looking forward to a bonus event in his home country alongside the championship’s traditional summer visit to Finland.

Born out of the Arctic Lapland Rally held in the area every January, the event will be based in Rovaniemi – capital of Finland’s northernmost region – with some stages taking place inside the Arctic Circle. The location promises great winter rallying conditions, with frozen roads and high snow banks at the sides of the road, which drivers lean on to carry more speed through corners. Special studded tyres will bite into the icy surface to provide grip and some of the highest speeds of the entire season.

The rally will run to a condensed format with 10 stages providing a total of 251.08 competitive kilometres. Following shakedown on Friday morning, the rally features a demanding start with two runs over the longest test of the rally, the 31.05-kilometre Sarriojärvi stage, with the second pass to take place in darkness. Saturday is the longest day of the rally, with a loop of three stages to be repeated either side of mid-day service with another late finish. The final day on Sunday consists of two passes over the Aittajärvi test, the latter as the Power Stage.

Quotes:

Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“Our result on Rallye Monte-Carlo was a very special start to the season and I was really happy to see how well the team was working together. Now, we’re looking forward to the first ever Arctic Rally Finland as a round of the WRC. Over the years there has been a lot of talk about how great the event could be as a WRC round with the guaranteed snow. This year the opportunity has suddenly come up and everyone involved has done a great job to make it happen in a very short space of time. I’m sure it will look fantastic on television with the pure white snow and the sun shining. What’s typical in Lapland are very long, fast corners where you can lose a lot of time if you’re not feeling confident, so the stability of the car is very important. For us, there will probably be a bit more pressure than usual because it’s a home event and our car has been developed on Finnish roads with these kind of conditions. But I’m confident that we can handle it.”

Sébastien Ogier/ Julien Ingrassia
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 1)
“We should have proper winter conditions for Arctic Rally Finland, which will be quite a contrast to what we have seen in the WRC in the last few years. When I tested in the area around Rovaniemi last week I enjoyed it a lot: I felt happy with the car and I think we are ready. We just have to wait and see how the conditions are for us opening the road, as usually this can play a big role on snow rallies like this. After last year I know to expect tough competition from my team-mates in these conditions – I’m sure Elfyn will be very motivated and Kalle probably even more so on home ground – but also from the other teams as well. So I expect it will be a difficult rally to win, but I’m up for the challenge.”

Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“Arctic Rally Finland will be brand new for most of the drivers. Naturally, we want to strive for a similar result to Sweden last year, but we have to wait and see how things go. The conditions are likely to be different to what we’ve seen in Sweden in recent years, when there’s been very little ice or snow. So that’s been something to consider in our testing, where it’s been really cold. We’ve also had to adapt the setup for the new Pirelli tyre. Similar to Monte-Carlo we have no prior experience with the tyre, but it’s a bit more straightforward because we only have one choice for this rally, so we’ve been able to focus our efforts on that. Overall, the feeling is good and I’m looking forward to the rally.”

Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“It will be nice to be back competing in Lapland again. I did the rally there once before – last year, when it was my first event in the Yaris WRC. For sure, this experience will help a bit. But there will be some stages that I haven’t driven before or they will be in the opposite direction, so I don’t think it will be a big advantage. In our tests the biggest thing we needed to do was find the right setup for the new tyre, as the style of the tyre is different from what we had before, but the feeling has been good. For me there is a bit more pressure than normally, but I would say it’s more excitement than pressure – especially from the Finnish people, as everybody is following me more than on other rallies.”

Entry List

Posted: February 19, 2021 7:01 AM

Event Website

Posted: February 19, 2021 6:56 AM

Oliver Solberg/Aaron Johnston to make Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC debut at Arctic Rally Finland

Posted: February 5, 2021 6:53 AM

Hyundai Motorsport has announced that Oliver Solberg will drive a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC at the forthcoming second round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Arctic Rally Finland (February 26-28).

Solberg, who was previously announced as one of the team’s WRC 2 drivers for 2021, will step up to WRC for the first time at the new championship event as part of an ongoing learning curve for the 19-year-old.

Alongside his co-driver Aaron Johnston, Solberg will compete on the snowy Finnish roads in a car maintained by 2C Compétition. The crew had a taste of the Arctic conditions last month as they contested the Finnish Rally Championship round in a Hyundai i20 R5, finishing third overall.

While participation in the Arctic Lapland Rally will give the crew a sense of familiarity, it will be their first time competing in the WRC category. As such, the target will be one of gathering experience and getting themselves acquainted with the high-speed nature of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC on Pirelli tyres.

The pair will be able to benchmark their performance level against Hyundai Motorsport’s established crews Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja, Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe and Craig Breen/Paul Nagle. However, the primary objective will be on getting mileage under their belt ahead of a WRC 2 debut later in the season.

Oliver Solberg said:
“The first thing is for me to say a very big thank you to Hyundai Motorsport for giving me this opportunity to gain experience and for putting their trust in me to drive this rally in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. I’m counting down the minutes until I get to sit in this fantastic car for the first time. This really is a dream to be making my debut in a World Rally Car with the reigning manufacturers’ champions! I have driven quite a lot on the snow, and I know this type of condition quite well, but the car is completely new for me. The only target for me in Lapland is to learn and take the experience. I want to come out of every stage understanding the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC more than when I started it.”

Team Principal Andrea Adamo said:
“We are very happy that Oliver has the opportunity to drive the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in Arctic Rally Finland. We are keen to see his performance level, of course, but there is no pressure on his shoulders in his debut WRC event. He has to enjoy the rally and take all the experience possible. It will be his first time at the top level of world rallying but it is more of a test than anything else; he has to acclimatise and get acquainted with the high-speed nature of the car in these wintry conditions. We hope to see him at the arrival, the end of the Power Stage, with lots of enjoyment and happiness - that’s the main target.”

Hyundai Motorsport - Craig Breen/Paul Nagle in line-up for Lapland

Posted: February 3, 2021 4:27 PM

Arctic Rally Finland joins 2021 FIA World Rally Championship

Posted: January 14, 2021 3:37 PM

The FIA World Rally Championship will venture into the Arctic Circle for the first time next month after WRC Promoter today added Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox to the 2021 calendar.

The all-new snow and ice event will be based in Rovaniemi on 26 - 28 February and replaces the cancelled Rally Sweden as the WRC’s only pure winter encounter. It forms round two of the 12-event fixture list.

The announcement means the Nordic country will host two WRC rounds this year. Rally Finland, held on iconic rollercoaster gravel roads around Jyväskylä, will take place on 29 July - 1 August.

Rovaniemi, the capital of Finland’s northernmost Lapland province, lies just outside the Arctic Circle. The competition will take place inside the region, where temperatures can plunge below -30°C in February.

The city is famously known as the home of Santa Claus (or Joulupukki as he is called in Finland) and also attracts high tourist numbers to view the stunning Aurora Borealis displays – better known as the Northern Lights.

The rally starts on Friday 26 February with a morning shakedown, ahead of the opening special stages that evening. Saturday features three tests driven twice ahead of Sunday’s final leg, which closes with the Wolf Power Stage. The 10 stages cover 260km.

The rally will run under strict national, local and FIA Covid-19 procedures and organisers will follow all protocols on whether fans will be allowed.

WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel was impressed by promoter AKK Sports’ determination to organise the rally at short notice.

“Since it was confirmed in December that Rally Sweden would not take place, we’ve been working hard with AKK Sports, the city of Rovaniemi and the enthusiasts there to try to make this event happen. It’s been a tough race against time and my thanks go to all involved,” he said.

“Although the rally starts in just 44 days, we know AKK will leave no stone unturned to ensure it reaches the same high standards as the traditional summertime Rally Finland.

“Winter rallies provide some of the sport’s most spectacular action. A winter wonderland of full snow and big snow banks lining the roads are a driver’s dream, so I think the WRC is in for a great time!”

AKK Sports CEO Riku Bitter is delighted at how quickly Rovaniemi embraced the idea of a WRC round at such short notice.

“We set out to look into the matter and explore our possibilities. Of the various different options, Rovaniemi, with its solid culture in organising winter rallies, good reputation as an international event city and large number of enthusiastic and experienced rally-makers stood out,” he said.

FIA rally director Yves Matton said: “With Arctic Rally Finland joining the WRC calendar, we will experience a rally in a region that has always made us dream and where conditions promise to be optimal for a snow event.

“Following the unfortunate cancellation of Rally Sweden in December, this is proof that with challenges can come opportunities.

“I would like to thank AKK and the organising team for their commitment, professionalism and determination, which enables them to make a second round in Finland a reality within a short time window. We will give all our help and support to ensure a great success for this new round.”

The revised calendar is subject to FIA approval.

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