M-Sport’s World Rally Team had mixed fortunes at the 2016 Rally Finland as Mads Østberg finished sixth, while his team-mate Eric Camilli crashed out of the rally.
Østberg along with his co-driver Ola Fløene were setting stage-winning times, particularly through SS16 (Saalahti) which they won the stage. The Norwegians were embroiled in a six-way fight for the podium, but Østberg had to settle for sixth place at Rally Finland 2016, finishing only 20 seconds from the podium.
Østberg’s team-mates Camilli and Benjamin Veillas showed their potential at Rally Finland, challenging with some of the more experienced rivals in the WRC. The Frenchmen came undone with their inexperience of the fast Finnish stages as on SS14 (Päijälä), Veillas’ optimistic pacenote sent the Fiesta into a high-speed roll to which the pair came out unscathed after the crash. Camilli’s next focus is on the asphalt in Rallye Deutschland.
In WRC2, Britain’s Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry finished third in Finland despite suffering with a power failure on SS10 (Surkee), which dropped them to sixth place overall at one stage. The Welshmen’s third-place finish secures them vital championship points in the Drivers’ Standings.
Østberg said post-Finland “It’s been a really good weekend and we’ve been pushing hard on all of the stages. There’s been a fantastic fight for the podium throughout the entire rally. It’s quite incredible to see so many cars fighting for the top positions – and it’s just a shame that we’ve finished towards the end of that fight.
“I felt something wasn’t quite right on the back of the car and that prevented us pushing to our maximum today. It’s a shame that’s the way it ended – and that we had to settle for sixth – but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
Camilli spoke about his weekend in Finland “We knew before the rally that it would be challenging. Like Sweden, it is hard for a Frenchman to come here for the first time in a World Rally car and show immediate speed, but I was actually quite pleasantly surprised by our times.
“Through the first pass of Ouninpohja (SS13) we could see that our pacenotes were too slow. All of our minuses were in fact pluses, so I decided to change them for the next stage (SS14). But one left-hand corner was a minus, not a plus. We went wide into the ditch and rolled the car at high-speed.
“Thankfully both myself and Ben were okay which is the most important thing and we have to put this one down to experience. We’ve learnt a lot this weekend and I think we have shown that we have the potential to do well in the future.”
Evans added “It’s been a challenging weekend. Some problems on Friday put us on the back foot and dropped us down to sixth. Third place was probably the best we could have hoped for after that. We’ve had a clean rally with no mistakes and the speed has been really good in places too. It’s a shame as the result could have been a lot more.”