Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas claimed a stage win and finished fifth overall on his rallying debut at the Arctic Lapland Rally in his native Finland. 

Bottas competed in his first rallying event against drivers in the Finnish championship, with the Mercedes F1 driver running in a World Rally Championship-spec car, compared to the less powerful R5-spec machinery used by his rivals. 

The Finn initially only managed the seventh and ninth fastest times across the opening two stages of the rally but improved to fifth by the end of the event.

Bottas and co-driver Marcus Gronholm - a two-time WRC champion - also claimed a stage win on the 2.17-mile Mantyvaara section, having beaten Henrik Pietarinen by 2.3s. 

The Finnish championship regular proved to be Bottas’ closest competition for much of the event, with Pietarinen coming out on top in the final two stages to ultimately seal fourth place ahead of Bottas.




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