FIA

Ketomaa eyes repeat
Finland win in WRC 2

Jari Ketomaa starts as favourite to enhance his WRC 2 title ambitions on home ground at Neste Oil Rally Finland (31 July - 3 August).

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The Finn led throughout in 2013 on the Ford Fiesta R5’s debut. He starts this year on the back of second place behind team-mate Ott Tänak at the previous round in Poland, as the Drive DMACK squad dominated WRC 2.

Ketomaa is third in the title race, 27 points off the top. Leader Lorenzo Bertelli and second-placed Yuriy Protasov are both entered in Fiesta R5s, but neither can score points as this is not one of their nominated events.

“I believe it will be a difficult event as there are many new roads being used this year but this rally is one of the highlights of the championship and it’s always a special feeling. As well as the high speeds, we’ve seen some roads starting to get rough in recent years so there’s always a mix of challenges to master,” said Ketomaa.

Karl Kruuda - back in Sweden-winning car

Tänak could prove his closest challenger. He followed his Poland victory with success at the non-championship Rally Estonia, and after a poor start to the season the sixth-placed Estonian will hope to use his experience of high-speed roads to boost his own title bid.

“Finland is such a unique event that usually it takes a little while to adjust to the speeds. This year we’ve been lucky to compete on Rally Estonia, where the conditions and speeds are similar, so hopefully we can be on the pace right from the start,” said Tänak.

Four points ahead in fifth is Karl Kruuda, who will be reunited with the car in which he claimed the biggest victory of his career.

The 21-year-old Estonian is reverting to the Ford Fiesta S2000 he used to win WRC 2 in Sweden in February, having driven a R5 Peugeot 208 T16 in Italy and Poland.

“I know the set-up needed with the Fiesta for Finland and the team that runs the car is Finnish so they have a lot of knowledge of the terrain,” said Kruuda.

Also likely to go well is Saudi Arabian Yazeed Al Rajhi, who finished third in Poland, and reigning WRC 3 champion Sébastien Chardonnet, who prepared by driving his Citroen DS3 R5 at Rally Estonia.

Eyvind Brynildsen makes his first appearance in a Fiesta RRC but the Norwegian has proven pace at this level, while Ukraine’s Valeriy Gorban showed good speed in Poland in his Mini John Cooper Works S2000.

Twelve crews will start WRC 2 at the four-day event.

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