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Hanninen sixth after 'good rally', next outing TBC
11 February 2013
Juho Hanninen took sixth on Rally Sweden last weekend as he completed his initial two-event programme with the Qatar World Rally Team.
Although Hanninen is eager to do more events with the M-Sport-run squad this season, as yet nothing has been confirmed, although the Finn told
at the end of this weekend's second round in the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, that he is 'hopeful' he will get back out in the Fiesta again this year.
As for Sweden itself, Hanninen had mixed feelings and while he did open his points account and also posted 19 top-ten times from a possible 22 - including a fifth fastest time in the penultimate stage - he would have been one place higher overall but for what he admitted was a 'stupid mistake' in the final test on Saturday. Going into the repeat-run through the short 1.87 km Hagfors Sprint test he was 15.8 seconds up on Thierry Neuville, who eventually took fifth. However near the end he hit a snow bank and lost over a minute.
“It had been going well [on Saturday] and I was feeling more confident with the car, but then on the last stage [SS16] we got stuck in a snow bank and lost a lot of time. It was maybe 100 metres before the finish and it took a long time to get back on the stage,” he recounted.
“Obviously it was very disappointing for us – especially as it was on the last stage of the day – but luckily we only lost one place.”
“Today [Sunday] we had no major dramas,” he continued. “It was a little bit difficult because there was no real fight after I lost the time yesterday [Saturday]. But I just drove on the safe side and enjoyed these nice Norwegian stages.
“I much prefer it when you have these exciting battles – it gives you that extra momentum to push. But today we did not have that and I didn't want to take any big risks chasing times.
“But all in all I think the rally has been good for us. There were some really nice stages and the car felt great. I'm a little disappointed with the pace, but as the same time I need to be realistic.
“For me it has been difficult to be at the same pace at the guys at the top. It's been a couple of years since I've competed here and this is such a fast event that experience counts for a lot.”
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