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FIA approved entries published

Hot battles throughout the field

Entries for Finland´s round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Neste Oil Rally Finland, closed on Monday 1st of July and the list of FIA approved entries was published today, 4th of July. The list contains no less than 101 crews.

63 of these come from outside Finland, leaving 38 local entries. With participants of the national "Vetomies" contest of Thursday and Kuskit (McKlein)Friday added, the total number of competing crews climbs to 154.

All top names of the world series are naturally in. Of the works teams, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi Word Rally Team have nominated Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and Daniel Sordo (ESP) as their point scorers. Kris Meeke (GBR) fills the same role for Citroën´s second team. Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team´s scorers are Mads Östberg (NOR) and Evgenyi Novikov (RUS) with Thierry Neuville (BEL) representing their second team. Series leading newcomer Volkswagen Motorsport counts on its regular duo of Sébastien Ogier (FRA) and Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), while Jipocar Czech National Team has nominated Martin Prokop (CZE) for points.

Altogether there are 14 WRC crews on the list, five of these from the host nation. Some drivers from outside the works teams can also be expected to challenge the regulars, such as Jarkko Nikara in his Mini or Juho Hänninen in a Ford. Mixing it with them may be Sweden´s P-G Andersson (Ford), too.

Esapekka Lappi challenged in WRC2

In addition to the main series all of the support classes also compete in Finland, i.e. WRC2, WRC3 and Junior WRC. The first named has attracted a big entry of 20. Biggest local interest focuses on Esapekka Lappi (Skoda). In his previous world series outing in Portugal he was outstanding winning the class and taking 11 fastest stage times of 15 possible. Four scratch times towards the end were claimed by Elfyn Evans (Ford), who rejoins the action in Finland. He will debut the brand new Ford Fiesta R5 built by M-Sport, Ford´s works outfit in WRC until the factory officially withdrew from the sport. R5 is actually the car for four other drivers, too, among these Finland´s Jari Ketomaa. Other manufacturers working on R5 cars are Citroën and Peugeot, who have yet to homologate their versions.

Included in the WRC2 entry is Robert Kubica (Citroen), whose transformation from F1-racer to rally driver has been outstanding. Considering his still limited mileage, he has been amazingly quick on both tarmac and gravel.

WRC3 attracts 11

11 drivers have chosen to chase Neste Oil Rally Finland points in the WRC3 class. All of these use a Citroën DS3, which model also has its own one-make class called Citroën Top Driver. Among the favourites we find Sébastien Chardonnet, Bryan Bouffier, Alastair Fisher, Keith Cronin... The drivers in this class are chasing a future in the sport and their battles can be as compelling as those in the main category. Finland´s representative in WRC3 is Jussi Vainionpää.

JWRC - home advantage for Amberg and Nieminen

Below the WRC-classes JWRC is an even playing ground, where everybody drives a similar car with even similar settings. This should guarantee the driver becomes the decisive factor.

Local hopes include AKK-Motorsport´s elite coaching group, AKK Driver Academy, member Andreas Amberg, who was showing a decent turn of speed in his previous outing until being forced to retire. Countryman Niko-Pekka Nieminen lies sixth in points after a more consistent performance. The series is led by Sweden´s Pontus Tidemand, who has been setting the pace in the two earlier qualifying rounds.

There are other interesting Finns in the same class, albeit outside the JWRC series, such as Jaro Kinnunen with a Peugeot 208 R2.

"Vetomies" runners break loose on Friday and Saturday

In addition to actual Neste Oil Rally Finland some of the special stages will also host the "Vetomies" competition for amateur drivers. This received 53 entries, which do battle in two separate contests: "Vetomies" and its new sibling "Nelivetomies".

The former caters for two-wheel-drive cars whose homologation has expired, so are not eligible for the main event. These cars are used in Finland for the immensely popular F-Cup and Suomi Cup series. Top names from both series will be seen in "Vetomies".

"Nelivetomies" is a novelty for four-wheel-drive cars with national homologation. These entries can be seen on Friday and Saturday on the duplicated special stages between WRC runs. "Vetomies" competition lasts for one day only and uses the duplicated stages of Saturday between WRC runs.

To find the FIA approved Draft Entry List, please click here.

Julkaistu: 4.7.2013 17:50