We’ve taken our first victory of the 2021 WRC season in style with a 1-3 result in Arctic Rally Finland, the second round of the championship. Our Estonian crew Ott and Martin led the rally from start to finish, securing their second victory with our team by 17.5-seconds.
Thierry and Martijn picked up their second consecutive podium result with a fine run to third, one place ahead of Craig and Paul who ensured all three of i20 Coupe WRC cars completed the rally inside the top-four.
“After Monte-Carlo, I said only a win would have been enough to allow us to come back to the level we need to be,” said our Team Principal Andrea. “The team did an amazing job, and this result reflects that. Winning and finishing first are very different concepts. Today, we won.”
Lead before the lights come on
Ott and Martin took the rally lead on Friday’s opening stage (Sarriojarvi) and never relinquished control. They took stage wins in daylight and darkness, putting on a masterful display in high-speed, wintry conditions.
“This victory is very important and allows us to take away good points for the championship,” said Ott. “We knew it would be complicated to take on the fight but, in the end, we did a very good weekend. I was pushing the engineers quite a lot, but their hard work really paid off. This has been an amazing place to come for a rally. It’s more than a worthy addition to the world championship.”
Thierry and Martijn continued to work on their communication and collaboration to make another important step forward in their partnership. A dominant win on Saturday’s Siikakama stage was a sign of their progress.
“I am very satisfied with our third position, even if second was so close,” said Thierry. “We have taken some good points for both championships, which were really needed after Monte-Carlo. The car was really great in these conditions. I felt comfortable, we could find a good rhythm and I was able to push immediately.”
View from the afternoon
For Craig and Paul, second place in the afternoon’s Power Stage showed important signs of progress after a tough weekend.
“It definitely gives me motivation,” said Craig. “We spent some time in the regroup to analyse where I was losing time compared to the others. Thanks to the engineers, we were able to identify a few things. I knew the speed was there, so it was nice to score some points for the team in the Power Stage and to end the weekend on a positive note.”
The result means we hold second place in the manufacturers’ championship on 77 points. Thierry moves up to second in the drivers’ title with Ott opening his 2021 account to jump up to fifth.
Andrea concluded: “Thank you to the Arctic Rally Finland organisers for allowing us to come here and enjoy an exciting rally; we have shown again that motorsport can react quickly in very difficult circumstances to put on a show ？ safely ？ and to ensure that everybody can share some entertainment in difficult times.”
WRC will head to Croatia for the third round of the season at the end of April for a pure tarmac round ？ and another new addition to the calendar.
Final Overall Classification ？ Arctic Rally Finland
1 O. Tanak / M. Jarveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2:03:49.6 2 K. Rovanpera / J. Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +17.5 3 T. Neuville / M. Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +19.8 4 C. Breen / P. Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +52.6 5 E. Evans / S. Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:01.5 6 T. Katsuta / D. Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:37.8 7 O. Solberg / S. Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:39.0 8 T. Suninen / M. Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2:09.0 9 G. Greensmith / E. Edmondson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3:39.4 10 E. Lappi / J. Ferm (Volkswagen Polo R5) +6:07.0
2021 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings After round 2
1 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 88 2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 77 3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 24 4 Hyundai 2C Competition 22 2021 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings After round 2 1 K. Rovanpera 39 2 T. Neuville 35 3 S. Ogier 31 4 E. Evans 31 5 O. Tanak 27 6 T. Katsuta 16 7 C. Breen 16 8 D. Sordo 11
All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.