Hanninen blitzes rivals to give Skoda Gp.N win

Intercontinental Rally Challenge regular Juho Hanninen took a dominant Group N win on the Neste Oil Rally Finland last weekend.

Hanninen, who recently gave Skoda its first win with the Fabia S2000 on the Rally Russia, the sixth round in the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, blitzed the competition in Jyväskylä, eventually finishing more than 2.5 minutes up on his closest class rival - Abarth factory driver, Anton Alen.

Indeed the Finn, who was competing in a Fabia S2000 run by the Red Bull Rally Team, won 21 of the 23 stages and on the final day he hauled himself up into the top ten, finishing 3.2 seconds ahead of Munchi's Ford Focus RS WRC runner, Federico Villagra.

"When I realised that I could still catch Villagra in the WRC, I simply took the risk and went for it," said Hanninen. "And now my delight has of course been doubled because it all worked out.

"I didn't have a single problem with the car the entire weekend long - thanks to the entire BRR crew for that. Our teamwork was excellent.

"I don't know about my next World Rally Championship event but this one was really enjoyable."

Team boss Raimund Baumschlager meanwhile was over-the-moon to see Hanninen do so well and was one of the first to congratulate him - along with Red Bull Racing F1 star, Sebastian Vettel, who was at the event as an interested spectator.

"This is a result that makes us all very happy," Baumschlager noted. "It really has been a tremendous performance by Juho.

"But here it was also proven once again how seriously and honestly Skoda Motorsport is running its customer programme.

"We're constantly supplied with the best equipment. That's the only possible way to achieve such results."

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