Wildcard Hanninen takes Finland S-WRC glory
Rally Finland - Day two
Juha Hanninen made full use of his wildcard nomination for the Super 2000 World Rally Championship section of Neste Oil Rally Finland by winning the two-litre, normally aspirated class in his Skoda Fabia.
The Finn was making his second start in the WRC this season and his first appearance in the S-WRC with the Austrian Baumschlager Rallye and Racing operation. With a lead of 41.1 seconds heading into the final day of the event, Hanninen knew that provided he kept out of trouble victory would be his.
“There was nothing special today because we just had to keep up the concentration and not make any mistakes,” said Hanninen. “We did that and I’m very pleased with this result.”
Matti Rantanen, the other nominated wildcard entrant, was second at the start of day two but retired when he left the road on stage 13 and damaged his suspension hitting a rock. His misfortune elevated P-G Andersson into second with fellow Skoda driver Patrik Sandell moving into third.
Martin Prokop was fourth in his Ford Fiesta with Michal Kosciuszko taking fifth on his first rally with the Skoda Rally Team Italia outfit. Jari Ketomaa’s restart under SupeRally regulations lasted less than a stage when a heavy landing on the Kolonkulma test damaged the gearbox oil cooler of his Fiesta. With no oil remaining in the unit, Ketomaa failed to go the distance for the second day in a row.
Nasser Al-Attiyah also restarted on day two following repairs to his Fiesta’s damaged suspension and finished seventh, one place behind Janne Tuohino, who was hampered by several mechanical niggles throughout the event.
Albert Llovera retired his Abarth Grande Punto with an engine fault on stage 14. Xevi Pons, who didn’t nominate Finland as one of his scoring rounds, continues to lead the S-WRC standings although his margin over Andersson is now down to 18 points. The series resumes with ADAC Rallye Deutschland from August 18-22.
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