Finland’s Max Vatanen won an incident-packed 2016 Rally Finland to bring his Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy challenge on track.
The 25-year-old kept his cool on the fast Finnish roads to record his first Trophy win of the season. This means Vatanen has leapfrogged Northern Ireland’s Jon Armstrong into second place in the standings after his early exit from the rally, as well as winning two WRC2 prize drives for next year.
Portugal’s Bernardo Sousa was second, while Poland’s Jakub Brzezinski celebrated their best result in the Trophy in third place. It was also a similar story for Norway’s Oscar Solberg who achieved his best-ever result in the Trophy so far in fourth place.
Kenya’s Karan Patel continued his learning curve in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy as the Kenyan finished fifth. While Britain’s Osian Pryce was in a nip-and-tuck battle with Vatanen for the majority of the rally until he rolled his Ford Fiesta R2 on Saturday, losing time to the Finn.
The Welshman with co-driver Dale Furniss finished sixth, but still leads the standings by just five points ahead of Max Vatanen. Gus Greensmith and Nicolas Ciamin failed to finish Rally Finland.
Vatanen said after winning his home rally “I am really happy to win here in Finland. We had the pace from the start and were driving with our heads and it paid off. The car and tyres both worked really well. Maxim also did a really good job so it was a great combination that brought this result. It’s fantastic to have won the prize drives for next year and it gives me motivation to push for the other rounds so I’m really pleased.”
Sousa spoke about regaining his confidence after finishing second in Finland “It was a nice rally, we started a little bit slow but stage by stage we improved and began setting some fastest times, and by the end it was a case of getting the car home. It was a good result, the rhythm is back and so is the confidence, so I’m looking forward to Rally Germany. Tarmac is my favourite kind of surface and I think I’ll be able to drive much better.”
Brzezinski added “It’s amazing for us to get to the finish in the first place, and to finish third, we didn’t expect that at all. I must say it’s been amazing and we’re still a little bit shocked that we managed to get to the finish and with a proper result. We look forward to the next challenge in Germany for sure.”