Finnish rally driver Jari Huttunen came off the back of a perfect start to his season in the Polish Rally championship as he took victory on Rajd Rzeszowski in his Hyundai i20 R5 and followed it up with a win at Lõuna-Eesti Ralli.
Huttunen started the rally with the second fastest stage time, finishing 2.6 seconds behind Eerik Pietarinen in his Škoda Fabia R5, while it was a promising time, the Finn knew he could do better as he commented “Everything working but not so good start.”
On SS2 he lost time as he stalled but only dropped to third place before improving to second place on SS3. By the end of the first day he was in third place which the top four positions covered by just 1.6 seconds.
The opening stage of the second day saw Huttunen drop to fourth place, despite having a good feeling in the car, this would be the lowest place he would drop to before mounting a challenge for victory.
Nikolay Gryazin was leading the rally at the end of SS6 but Huttunen was closing in, reducing the lead to 4.9 seconds. The Finn won SS7 and reduced Gryazin’s margin to 1.1 seconds before winning the final stage to secure victory with 3.3 seconds over the Russian.
“Of course I appreciate this victory,” Huttunen told Rallit.fi “Although the main goal of the day was to prepare for the Estonian World Rally Championship. At the very least, this showed that we can drive on gravel, although time has passed since the previous gravel rally. There was one driving error in the trip, when I turned off the car at the start of the second leg, it took an estimated 4-5 seconds.”
In two weeks time Huttenen and co-driver Mikko Lukka will take part in the FIA World Rally Championship’s Rally Estonia inthe Hyundai i20 R5 car of the Polish 2BRally team.