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RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España 25.-28.10.2018 – result: 8.

It was really interesting event coming because both manufacturers and drivers WRC titles were open and top of that Sebastien Loeb was participating. Gravel stages were traditional but quite many of them reversed compared to the earlier years.

The car felt really nice from the start of the rally and feeling was really nice. We were in the really good pace, but on the stage 4 La Fatarella I hit the loose rock that caused a puncture to the left rear tyre. I drove more than 10 kilometre with the broken tyre and that broke the side of the car and I were really pissed off. I haven’t been so angry at the end of stage for a while, but there was fastest time coming in that stage without that puncture, but now I lost 40 seconds. I got some power from that anger and we had really nice speed during the rest of the day. At the evening I had climbed up to the fifth place from place 10.

The second day of the rally started in wet tarmac and cars were changed to the tarmac setup. Because it was so wet I choose the wet condition tyres and those were working really nicely. I drove with wet condition tyres for all day and because of the puncture for Ott Tänak I was leading the rally after two days. I had made right tyre choises and driving had been really smooth and relaxed.

In the sunday morning weather was quite cold but roads were drying because of the wind. Sebastien Loeb took a risk with hard tyre compound and he beat all the other top drivers who had choose the soft compound. Before the last stage of the rally I was 7,1 seconds of the Loebs lead and I decided to fight for the victory. Hard attack didn’t pay off and I hit the railing post and that disabled steering. I drove carefully to the end and we dropped to the eight place.

Sebastien Loeb did the magnificent performance and won the WRC event after five years. Ogier was second and Elfyn Evans was third.

2019-03-05T12:24:48+03:00

Dayinsure Wales Rally GB 4.-7.10.2018 – result: 2.

This was my 17th start in a row in Rally Wales GB. There were two whole new special stages (Penmachno and Elsi) and also some new sections in other stages too. Rally took place three weeks earlier than normally and the weather was a bit warmer. Still there has been raining quite a lot and the roads were muddy clayey. In the saturday afternoon sun was drying the roads.

I wasn’t at my best pace at the start and there were some small mistakes and our gap to the lead was quite long, although some special stages were quite good. In the friday night the gap to the rally leader Tänak was 31 seconds.

In the saturday morning we drove my favourite special stage Myherin, I must say that it went really bad. Afterwards that anger from poor driving gave me new energy and I was able to attack. Tänak retired due the technical problem in the saturday and that changed the things in a way that I was competing with Ogier for the win.

In the sunday morning Ogier was leading by 4,4 seconds. I attacked hard in the first stage of the day and we were even in the ditch, but the speed was in the same level as Ogier had and we were able to narrow the lead. Before the last two stages I was in the lead. Somehow Ogier was able to even drive faster and I couldn’t respond to that speed. At the end I lost 10,6 seconds because in the last tarmac stage I need to gave up, because I hit the kerbstone slightly and I felt that something was wrong with car and I slowed down.

In any case that second position in the podium felt good after five years. Esapekka Lappi was third which meant nice points for the manufacturers championship.

2019-03-05T12:23:22+03:00

Rally Turkey 13.-16.9.2018 – result: 2.

There were rough and hot rally, in other words endurance race, ahead. Even during the recce big stones were on the roads. From the very beginning my tactic was to drive carefully through the rally because we had gained good results with this tactic for example in rough Rally Acropolis.

In the beginning other competitors were clearly faster and I had also two spare tyres with me when other drivers had only one. After the morning loop of Friday I was at the sixth place. In the afternoon this event started to show its characteristic and drivers got problems with suspension and tyres. In the end of Friday I was at the fourth place when some drivers were dropped from the top.

At Saturday roads were a bit better and speed was higher. Still the roads were quite rough compared to other rallies and that’s why Ogier and Neuville were forced to retire. In the Saturday evening we were raised to the second position even if we had also one puncture.

My team mate Ott Tänak was leading the rally and I was second in the Sunday morning. We just drove trough the last stages and One-Two places were confirmed for the first time in the history of Toyota Gazoo Racing. Hayden Paddon was third.

2019-05-15T09:52:25+03:00

ADAC Rallye Deutchland 16.-19.8.2018 – result: dnf

After successful Neste Rally Finland I got positive feeling to go to Germany and tarmac event. In the beginning of the rally I didn’t feel too confident with the car and driving was too unconsistent, but it got better towards the evening.

In the second day of the rally we were driving at the legendary Baumholder military area. Dani Sordo was the fastest there by winning three out of four stages. I wasn’t able to drive good enough there but faster field rounded roads suits me better. We had really tight fight with Dani for the second place. Ott Tänak was too far before us. After saturday I was 0,8 seconds behind Dani.

Sunday morning was about to culminate for fight between Dani and Me. At the road section my car’s hydraulic pump failed. That left central differential open and I need to use mechanical gear shift. Car was hard to drive and this strained car a lot and that’s why gearbox broke down one kilometre before the first stage end. Also Dani Sordo went off on that stage. End results were Tänak, Thierry Neuville and Esapekka Lappi.

2018-10-22T09:26:23+03:00

Neste Rally Finland 26.-29.7.2018 – result: 3.

I felt pressure more than ever before the rally. I got five bad rallies in a row before Rally Finland and I had to stop that trend. Pressure affected me in the first proper stage, Moksi, on friday morning. I was 9,4 seconds behind Ott Tänak in the stage that I like the most in the rally. After this stage I was able to find the good rhythm for the three next stages. After the midday service I lost my pace again at Oittila. I lost 10 seconds there. Again after this one poor stage time I was able to find the right mood and after the friday we hold 3rd position overall.

On saturday morning I decide to try to catch Ott Tänak and Mads Östberg. After first saturday morning stages I realized that Ott Tänak has done superb job and without his problems I am not able to catch him. I made small setup changes in the midday service. After this I was more confident with the car and I felt more relaxed. I was able to narrow the gap between me and Mads, and after saturday I was 5,4 seconds behind him.

On Sunday there were two stages driven twice, Laukaa and Ruuhimäki. I was at maximum attack -mode for the whole loop. I didn’t even break to any jumps, but still it wasn’t enough. Rally ended to the 3rd place 2,8 seconds behind Mads Östberg, who drove one of the his best rallies.

Tänak won, Östberg second and I was third. This result took out of the pressures from my shoulders.

2018-10-22T09:07:59+03:00

Rally Pohjanmaa 15.-16.6.2018 (Finnish Rally Championship event)

I had a nice opportunity to take a part Pohjanmaa-Ralli with Juho Hänninen and Toyota Celica. We had some problems with Celica in the previous rallies. We were working hard to solve these issues and change the parts.

In the first stage there were some challenges to find the right rhythm, because we had tested Toyota Yaris WRC for few days before this event. After I got feeling to 30 year older car on the second stage I find the rhythm and Juho read pacenotes like he has been co-driving for ages.

In the afternoon I tried to raise the speed but hot weather caused some lack of power so I wasn’t able to go any faster when the same stages were driven for the second time. We were able to reach the finnish and took the victory in Historic group and 10th place in general overall results.

2018-10-22T09:35:46+03:00

Rally Italia Sardegna 7.-10.6.2018 – result: 7.

Our tactic for this rally was to save the car and tires because our latest successful event was Rally Monte Carlo in January.

Driving wasn’t too consistent but we didn’t made any mistakes. With this setup we were at third after friday.

On saturday we decided to try to ensure our position because Thierry Neuville and Sebastien Ogier were driving too fast for our risk level. Our team mate Esapekka Lappi was in the fourth place, not too far from us, so we weren’t able to play too safety. We had good competition with EP until the last special stage of saturday. Recharger from our Yaris stopped working. We tried all that we can to go to service, but liaison distance from the stage end was more than 100 kilometres, but we had to retire when battery charge ended.

We got 14 minutes time penalty, but we were able to participate on sunday, again under Rally 2. I was able to achieve seventh place. In the Power Stage I tried to got some points, but I stalled the engine in the hairpin and that’s why we lost those points.

Thierry Neuville won Sebastien Ogier only by 0,7 seconds and EP Lappi was third.

 

2018-10-22T08:46:51+03:00

Vodafone Rally de Portugal 17.-20.05.2018 – result: DNF

Latest rally in Argentina was ended far too early because of suspension breakage and that’s why our expectations were high for this event. Especially because we had won this rally in 2015.

In the first pass of super special stage I stalled the engine at the star, so start for the rally wasn’t too good. The first proper special stage on the friday morning was more or less getting touch for the driving and I decided to attack in special stage 2. First 5 kilometres went  nicely, but then in one almost full speed right hander I cut and hit the rock. That broke right front suspension and we had to retire.

Luckily we were able to go on under Rally 2 regulation. That gave us a bit better feeling and confidence. We got couple fastest stage times but still we didn’t got any points, which was frustrating.

2018-10-22T08:47:09+03:00

YPF Rally Argentina 26.-29.4.2018 – result: DNF

I was prepared well for the event and car felt really good at test sessions. New suspension and better software for the central diff made car more precise to drive and more traction for the tyres.

I was fastest at the shakedown, which confirmed our good tests. Rally started well and we were third after the first special stage of the friday, which was driven in the thick dust. In the second stage of the day our speed was even better and the feeling was good. We were at the fastest pace when at the fast right hand corner right front tyre hit the rock that was flipped up by the previous car. That broke suspension and the drive shift pulled out from the gearbox. That broke the engine oil pipe. When oil ran out engine damaged and our rally finished there.

My team mate Ott Tänak won the rally, Thierry Neuville was second and Dani Sordo third.

2018-06-19T08:57:06+03:00