Poland’s Robert Kubica was second in a Citroen DS3 RRC, with New Zealander Hayden Paddon completing the podium 1m25.0s further back in a Skoda Fabia S2000.
“It feels perfect, I have been trying to do this so many times I almost can’t believe it,” said a delighted Ketomaa, who collected a maximum 25 championship points. “Everything has gone perfectly for us and it’s so nice to do it here at home in front of my friends and sponsors!”
Starting today’s competition well cushioned in second, Formula 1 ace Kubica impressed on the fastest stages of the season to bag 18 points and move third in the WRC 2 standings.
“It has been a good weekend, a difficult rally, but I think we have done a very good job,” said the Pole. “It’s not easy to come here for the first time and the competition was pretty tough. We went up against a lot of local talented drivers we are happy to be leaving Finland with more knowledge and experience.”
Padden too felt encouraged by what he had achieved on his WRC 2 season debut. “We wanted to try and match out times against Esapekka Lappi and I think we’ve done ourselves justice on his home turf,” he said.
“We’re not back at 100 per cent yet, that’ll take more time because I’ve been away for a long time, but at long last we have a result on the board. Hopefully this is the start of more to come.”
Yazeed Al Rajhi was fourth, almost three minutes further back in a Ford Fiesta RRC. The Saudi Arabian regained the position by just 0.2sec on the final stage after he lost two minutes in the afternoon when he went straight on at junction. Fellow Fiesta RRC driver Edoardo Bresolin just lost out to Al Rajhi to take fifth.
Juho Salo was sixth, 34 seconds further back, but the Finn had been on course for third until his Subaru Impreza broke a front driveshaft near the end of the penultimate stage.
Valeriy Gorban, Robert Barrable and Oleksii Kikireshko rounded out the points-winning positions.