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Rally Sweden 14.-17.2.2019 – result: 21.

From last year’s mistakes about car’s setup were observed. Car felt really fast in the shakedown, and we were fastest in the first pass.

The rally started well I was right behind the leading guys. Conditions at the morning stages were icy and big snow banks guaranteed enjoyable rallying. For the evening loop conditions changed as opposite, slushy, gravel ruts and slushy snow banks.

At the afternoon of friday I was even leading the rally, but at the last stage of the day I really messed up. I assumed that Torsby-stage will be on gravel because of warn temperature but ruts were filled with slush and I tried to push too hard in that conditions. I braked too late and rear of the car hit the bank which sucked the front also to the ditch and there too few spectators. We pushed the car back to the road for more than ten minutes, despite that we reached the end of the stage, rally was ruined for us.

For the two last days I focused on setting good stage times, we managed with that during the morning loops but for the afternoon it was really tough to be second car on the road after Marcus Grönholm. We hit the bank also for the second time and again we need the help of spectators.

I tried to reach extra points from the Power stage, but I was too cautious in the same section were we had gone of on friday and that ruined our possibilities.

We scored zero points and we need to turn our thoughts towards Mexico. Ott Tänak won, Esapekki Lappi was second and Thierry Neuville third.

 
2019-10-28T11:18:05+02:00

Rallye Monte Carlo 24.-27.1.2019 – result: 5.

Third time in “Monte” with Toyota Yaris WRC and 12th as a whole. The last season had ended with really nice feelings in Rally Australia. Nevertheless we were not able to take that success straight to the Rallye Monte Carlo.

In pre-event tests we got quite bad crash and that is why the test kilometres were cutted and none of them on a wet or slushy conditions.

As a tradition rally started in thursday evening with two special stages in the dark. Roads were mixed conditions with ice and dry tarmac. Inexperience in mixed conditions showed up immediately, and I was far behind the top times after two stages.

During the next days driving was improved and I was at my best in the snowy stages. For me and setup of the car didn’t suit for mixed conditions and dry tarmac. In some places I was quite nearby the third place, but I wasn’t able to fight for that. At the end of the rally I was fighting for the fourth place against Sebastien Loeb. Sebastien got a bit more speed at the end I lost the fourth place by one second marginal. The result was disapointment, but you need to think positively. It was a clean rally for us.

Sebastien Ogier won, Thierry Neuville was second and Ott Tänak third.

2019-10-28T11:18:22+02:00

Kennards Hire Rally Australia 16.-18.11.2018 – result: 1.

For the last 15 years both manufacturers and drivers WRC title hasn’t been open before the last event. Sebastien Ogier, Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak were fighting for the drivers title and Toyota and Hyundai for the manufacturers title. The situation meant that Toyota need to have two cars in top five for sealing the manufacturers title. And for Ott Tänak he need to win the rally and other drivers need to have unfortunate for the title.

Motivation was high to help our team to win the manufacturers WRC title and try to compensate last years retirement three kilometres before the end of the rally by my own mistake.

Two first days we drove in the dry conditions and we were very competitive and had no issues. Everything seems to be allright because we were on the position one and two after saturday. I was even leading the rally in saturday morning but in the afternoon I drove too aggressively and my tyres were worn too much. With those worn tyres I wasn’t drive my best speed and in the super special stage there were wet conditions but we managed to go through the day.

It started to rain in sunday morning and roads were extremely slippery and that suits for me. In the tricky conditions we were able to make gap, nevertheless it wasn’t easy. Both Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak had to retire in the last day because off accident. That meant that Sebastien Ogier was able to confirm WRC title with the careful driving.

Sunday was the great success for me, I kept car on the road with my controlled driving. It meant victory for us and at the same time it confirmed manufacturers title for Toyota Gazoo Racing. I had already gave up the idea of winning the event in season 2018 but luckily we managed with it. Hayden Paddon was second and Mads Östberg was third.

 

2019-10-28T11:18:53+02:00

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+02:00

SM TeijoTalot -rally 28.-29.9.2018 (Finnish Rally Championship event)

Juho Hänninen and I went to the last Finnish Championships event to compare our Historic car Toyota Celica’s speed with modern rally cars. The beginning was difficult because the two first stages were driven in the dark and our lights were not working properly. On Friday evening we were the last car starting the race. It felt funny because it was the first time in my career. On Saturday in daylight it was easier to drive and Juho’s comments on stages kept me alert. At the end of the rally I tried to push as hard as I could and get Celica going. I succeeded and we were fifth fastest on the last stage and seventh fastest in the whole rally. My old Celica could not reach R5 cars but it could challenge the other cars.

2020-01-09T11:32:30+02:00

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+02:00

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