Preview Rally Finland WRC 2021: The legendary raid is back for Toyota’s home round

Rally fans and competitors alike are in luck as the WRC series heads off to Finland this weekend. The Rally Finland WRC, one of the most popular and legendary rounds in the World Rally Championship, is back on (1-3 October) after the COVID-19 pandemic forced its absence in 2020. 

Things are not completely back to normal, however. The traditional summer appointment, which is now on its 70th edition, has been delayed by two months in the hope that the Scandinavian authorities will be able to ease restrictions on attendance. 

 It was a wise move. Fans will finally be allowed to attend this historical and unique event and will be bringing the colour and atmosphere back with them,

The Rally Finland is considered one of the most important motorsports’ events of the year. Vehicles fly almost two meters in the air when they tackling its famous jumps, and reach mind-blowing speeds of up to 200 km/h. Not in vain, the Scandinavian rally is known as the Finnish Grand Prix. 

Toyota, host and favourite 

In purely competitive terms, Toyota Gazoo Racing will face the tenth appointment of the calendar both as the local team and the top favouriteTheir headquarters in Puuppola are very close to Jyväskylä, the event’s base camp

The Toyota drivers also know the gravel sections of the race like the back of their handas this is where they train regularly. It was precisely also here that the Yaris WRC took its first steps in 2018, and since it has remained unbeaten

That year Esapekka Lappi took the gold and Ott Tänak repeated the feat in the following two editions. The Japanese rocket has also asserted its power during the current season, going pretty much unrivalled through the year with seven wins out of a total of nine races 

Local hero Kallë Rovanpera will be at the wheel of one of the official Yaris WRC, in what is to be a very special weekend for him. The #69 is 21 on Friday and looking forward to celebrating his birthday surrounded by the support of his home fans. Also, the young racer from Jyväskylä arrives home in great form after winning in Greece… after Estonia. 

Sharing the spotlight with the young Scandinavian driver will be his teammate Sébastien Ogier, winner here in 2013 (VW Polo R WRC). The seven-time World Champion currently leads the Drivers’ standings with 44 points, when there are just three rounds remaining for the end of the season. The winner in Montecarlo, Croatia, Sardegna & Kenya will be after his first ‘match point’ at the Finnish race. 

Meanwhile, Elfyn Evans, the third member of the Japanese team and second in the Drivers’ standings, will try to shorten the distance that separates him from his  French rivalThe Welshman, however, hasn’t taken part in this appointment since 2018, something that could play against him. In 2019 he had to miss the Finnish round due to injury. 


Hyundai, to continue their upwards trend 

Perhaps because of the similarities between the two raids, Hyundai Motorsport will repeat its Estonian line-up in  Finland, with Ott Tänak, Thierry Neuville and Craig Breen. The goal of the South Korean team will be to maintain the good sensations that followed Tänak’s second place at the Acropolis Rally. 

A hard challenge for M-Sport 

This is set to be a tough challenge for M-Sport right from the start on Friday. The very fast stages of the Scandinavian race do not suit the Fiesta WRC notwithstanding Gus Greensmith‘s fifth place in the Greek round.

Adrien Fourmaux will be behind the wheel of the second Ford Fiesta WRC. The Frenchman will make his debut in the Scandinavian round with a four-wheel-drive vehicle and alongside his new co-driver Alexandre Coria, after parting ways with Renaud Jamoul, all adding to the already hefty challenge ahead. 

Images of Rally Finland WRC: Red Bull Content Pool.

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