WRC »

Loeb wins opener in Finland.

Citroen's Sebastien Loeb has taken the early initiative on the Neste Oil Rally Finland following the short 2.06 kilometre-run through the Killeri super special this evening, which as normal kicked off proceedings.

Loeb was paired with current championship leader and chief rival for the crown, local star Mikko Hirvonen in his 'duel' and the Frenchman came out top by 0.4 seconds, completing the test in 1 minute 20.5 seconds.

Hirvonen's 'best' left him joint third on the overall leaderboard with Subaru's Chris Atkinson, while Dani Sordo was second to give Citroen an early one-two.

Mikko had a little scare during his run in front of the thousands of fans, who turned out to watch the 99 starters. Indeed the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT #1 gently tapped the barriers near the start and sustained some minor damage to the rear of his Focus.

"It was an enjoyable, fast stage but it was also a little scary because the test has been built with concrete and metal blocks so it was important not to damage the car," said Hirvonen, who is celebrating his 28th birthday today.

"For me the rally starts tomorrow and I didn't drive flat out because I have bad memories of retiring there in 2004, so I took it cautiously. There is always so much excitement on the opening stage of Rally Finland and it's great the event has finally started. I can't wait until tomorrow."

Petter Solberg meanwhile completed the top five, fractionally ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, while Citroen privateer Urmo Aava and Andreas Mikkelsen were seventh and eighth respectively.

"There was one tight left bend but generally the stage was fast with plenty of room in which to power the Focus around," said Latvala. "The surface was smooth and it was good fun. I try not to think about what Rally Finland means to a Finn like me or I become distracted, but it was great to see the crowd and it filled me with confidence. I'm relaxed."

Further down the order, Stobart Ford duo Gigi Galli and Henning Solberg rounded out the top ten with Mads Ostberg eleventh and Munchi's Ford WRT man Federico Villagra twelfth.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - 1st place Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 2nd place Ott Tanak (EAU)-Martin Jarveoja (EST),Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - 1st place Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 2nd place Ott Tanak (EAU)-Martin Jarveoja (EST),Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Jukka KETOMÄKI (FIN) - Jarkko ALANEN (FIN) Skoda Fabia R5
12.02.2017 - Gus GREENSMITH (GBR) - Craig PARRY (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Gus GREENSMITH (GBR) - Craig PARRY (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Hiroki ARAI (JPN) - Glenn MACNEALL (AUS) Ford Fiesta R5, Tommi Mäkinen Racing
12.02.2017 - Alexey LUKYANUK (RUS) - Alexey ARNAUTOV (RUS) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Emil BERGKVIST (SWE) - Joakim SJÖBERG (SWE) Citroën DS3 R5
12.02.2017 - Emil BERGKVIST (SWE)  Citroën DS3 R5
12.02.2017 - Jarosław KOLTUN (POL) - Ireneusz PLESKOT (POL) Ford Fiesta R5, C‐Rally
12.02.2017 - Eyvind BRYNILDSEN (NOR) - Anders FREDRIKSSON (SWE) Ford Fiesta R5 Adapta Motorsport AS
12.02.2017 - Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) Skoda Fabia R5, Printsport
12.02.2017 - Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) - Stig Rune SKJÆRMOEN (NOR) Skoda Fabia R5, Printsport
12.02.2017 - Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) - Stig Rune SKJÆRMOEN (NOR) Skoda Fabia R5, Printsport

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.