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JWRC: Prokop wins in Finland.

Martin Prokop finally took his first win of the season and the third of his J-WRC career in his Citroen C2 S1600, on the Neste Oil Rally Finland last weekend, the fourth round in the 2008 FIA Junior World Rally Championship.

Prokop enjoyed another closely-fought battle with Michal Kosciuszko, just like in Sardinia back in May, and it was a two-man battle for the majority of the event, as the duo traded stage wins and seconds.

Kosciuszko made a decisive error towards the end of day two though, while leading by 2.7 seconds, and when he went off the road in SS20 and lost almost 2 minutes, it dropped him out of contention.

Prokop subsequently came through to take the maximum ten points by 17.5 seconds: "This win here really gives me a lot of pleasure!" said the Jipocar driver. "We weren't very lucky at the start of the season after we went off the road on the first day in Mexico, and then we had an engine problem that cost me the win in Italy. So this victory is a well-deserved reward for all the hard work put in by everybody at our team.

"Also after our crash here last year, this is wonderful! We made no mistakes and the battle with Kosciuszko was great."

Patrik Sandell meanwhile took the runners-up spot in his Renault Clio and while he tried to keep the pressure on Prokop on the final day, he was never really on the pace of the lead duo.

"We tried to put pressure on Martin today but it was not enough," admitted the Swede. "The gap was too big and the last stage too short.

"We came to Finland to win but after everything that has happened - going in the ditch yesterday and the dust - I'm quite happy with the result as we had some problems at the beginning of the year so everything is starting working and the team-work is better, so I'm happy."

Kosciuszko was next up despite losing all that time in the penultimate stage on Saturday. The result moves the Suzuki man to within 2 points of J-WRC series leader, Sebastien Ogier, although the Frenchman has an event in hand as he wasn't nominated to score points on the '1000 Lakes'.

"It's a little bit disappointing but it is normal when you are fighting so close to make a mistake," stated the Pole. "Six points are not bad and I think I have shown my potential – I'm really happy with my speed here. It will be a tough end to the season but tarmac should be good for me. I think I can still win the Championship and I will fight for it."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Martin Prokop (CZ) Jan Tomanek (CZ), Citroen C2 S1600
Craig Breen - Citroen Abu Dhabi World Rally [credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
Kris Meeke - Citroen Abu Dhabi World Rally [credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
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