Matti Rantanen will compete for the Munchi's Ford World Rally Team on the Neste Oil Rally Finland this coming weekend and following his brilliant drive last year on the '1000 Lakes' he is keen to go even better.
Rantanen, who has been competing in the MSA British Rally Championship this season, shone in Jyväskylä in 2008, finishing seventh in front of his home fans in a privately entered Ford Focus RS WRC and scoring two points, as well as picking up the 'Abu Dhabi Spirit of the Rally' award.
It was a great performance, especially as he was contesting the round for the first time in a WRC car - and only the fourth time in total. Indeed he ran in the points for almost all of the second day and in the end took P7 with ease, more than 2 minutes up on Toni Gardemeister, who was eighth.
Now he will return to the scene of that success and he and co-driver Mikko Lukka are keen to prove that last year's result was no fluke.
“My goal for this year is to drive to a better result than last year,” Rantanen confirmed. “I think that we have a good opportunity to produce an even better result with this great car. At the moment I feel very confident for the rally and my preparation has been good.
“For me Rally Finland is a really special event because there is such a good atmosphere in the whole city of Jyväskylä. Also there are many people watching on the stages and almost all my family and friends are there to support me.
“Of course the biggest challenge in the rally is the mental pressure because I have to drive really fast but still without mistakes.
“It is difficult because I have much less experience of these cars but I will try to deal with it as well as I can.”
Fellow Finn Mattias Therman meanwhile will also join the Munchi's squad for this event and he will compete in the 'third' car. This will be Therman's second outing in the World Rally Championship, having made his debut at the end of last year on the Wales Rally GB - when he finished 25th overall and eleventh in the Group N class in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX.