25-year-old Finnish driver Jari Huttunen drove the Hyundai i20 R5 to a win in the WRC3 at the Rally Sweden, claiming the first victory for the car in a WRC event
Huttunen started the rally steadily and was in second place in the WRC3 class after the first day of the rally. He rose to the top of the class in Saturday’s third special stage and secured his victory with Sunday’s Power Stage.
In total, he took five stage wins of nine, the second-in-class Škoda driver Emil Lindholm ended up five seconds behind Huttunen. Third in the WRC3 was World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson from in his Volkswagen.
Huttunen prepared for the Swedish round of the FIA World Rally Championship by running a two-day test the weekend before the race, completing around 200 test kilometres on the winter roads in Central Finland.
“Our pace was quite high this weekend. All was successful, but there was no need to take on risks. The most of the special stages had grip. There were some minor technical troubles along the way, but they had no effect on performance.” Huttunen said.
Huttunen took a victory in the WRC in 2017 when he won the WRC2 class in a Škoda at the Neste Rally Finland. Last year, he took the runner-up in the Hyundai at the same rally. This weekend’s victory was the first time the Hyundai i20 R5 has taken a class victory in the World Championship.
“I value this higher than the profit of 2017 in Jyväskylä. Many thanks to the 2Brally team that helps us, everything worked fine. Thanks also to Printsport Racing for organizing an important test weekend. Now we were able to show that we were up to speed again, as the preparation went great.” Huttunen added.
“Great performance from Jari. The pace was steady all the time and no mistakes came, even though the conditions were really harsh. Now the Hyundai R5 has the first victory in history at this level and hopefully this will give Jari more racing in the future.” Marcus Grönholm, Team Manager, said.
But it was not until 21:00 before WRC3 winner Huttunen was able to exhale, then the final message came from a meeting as a result of detected errors at post-event scrutineering.
It was a mistake on his Hyundai i20 R5, parts of the rear spoiler did not match the homologation documents with the dimensions being outside the rules.
Huttunen himself received € 1000 in fines for the error on the car and Hyundai Motorsport’s two cars were also taken for inspection, where the dimensions were within the tolerances for control measurement. As Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing is responsible for the delivery of parts to customer cars, a fine of € 10,000 was handed out to the company for lack of quality control.
Half of the fine was paid directly by the team and as long as the team do not break the rules again within 12 months, the remaining half will be dropped.