WRC2: Huttunen Doubles Finland Lead

by Alasdair Lindsay

Jari Huttunen continued his domination of the main support category at Rally Finland, putting over two minutes between himself and nearest challenger Quentin Gilbert.

Huttunen – making his WRC2 debut this weekend – had a mostly trouble-free run throughout the day, focusing his efforts on battling the unregistered entry of Eric Camilli for unofficial R5 class honours.

His only big mistake was a spin in the afternoon running of Ouninpohja, losing several seconds to Camilli, though by day’s end he held a 19.6 second advantage over the Frenchman. Camilli’s compatriot Gilbert holds a secure second place in the WRC2 category, taking a steady approach to the stages to hold position.

It was not so straightforward for Hiroki Arai, who had been battling with mechanical gremlins all weekend in his Tommi Mäkinen Racing-prepared Fiesta R5. After intermittent power delivery problems on Friday, his car developed a turbo problem in the morning loop, followed up by both power steering failure and a puncture in the Pihlajakoski afternoon test. Having been in the running for a podium despite his previous problems, the latter pair of issues sent him down to fifth in the standings.

Arai is one of two Toyota junior programme members competing in WRC2, and his team-mate Takamoto Katsuta was surprisingly hit by the exact same problem as his compatriot in the same stage. A stone had broken the power steering on his sister Fiesta, also forcing him to pull over and cycle the engine in the same manner as Arai before him.

Arai’s drama promoted Tom Cave to a comfortable third place, who enjoyed a much calmer day after brake problems blighted his Friday. Arai’s late problems during Pihlajakoski also promoted Osian Pryce to fourth, who holds a 19.4 second advantage over the Japanese driver heading into Sunday’s final leg.

Fabio Andolfi had been running third after the day’s opening stage, but his day ended immediately afterwards, crashing in the first run through Päijälä. He was joined on the sidelines in the same stage by fellow Italian Umberto Scandola, who also suffered a rally-ending accident, having been running down in eighth.

1.Jari HuttunenPrintsport2:22:14.5
2.Quentin GilbertQuentin Gilbert+2:06.4
3.Tom CaveAdapta AS WRT+3:16.1
4.Osian PryceDrive DMACK Team+5:48.2
5.Hiroki AraiTommi Mäkinen Racing+6:07.6
6.Simone TempestiniGekon Racing+7:06.1
7.Raul JeetsTeam Tehase Auto+10:28.6
8.Pierre-Louis LoubetPierre-Louis Loubet+29:36.1
9.Gus GreensmithFergus Greensmith+30:12.0
10.Juuso NorgrenTGS Worldwide+51:56.8

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