Hyundai Motorsport is running its i20 World Rally Car in Lapland this week with Thierry Neuville first to run the car in full snow specification.
The Belgian has new co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe alongside for the first time at a pre-event test, following their successful debut together at last month’s Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Team-mates Craig Breen and Ott Tänak follow Neuville into the test car in readiness for the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Toyota ships its Yaris World Rally Car north next week, but the current manufacturers’ championship leaders have made the most of solid winter conditions at their permanent test venue close to Jyväskylä.
Elfyn Evans, Kalle Rovanperä and Takamoto Katsuta have all driven the car this week, with Sébastien Ogier due behind the wheel on Friday.
While Toyota’s rally HQ sits some 350 miles south of the Arctic Circle, conditions in central Finland have been perfect for winter rally testing, with heavy snow and temperatures as low as -20°C.
Evans said: “We had quite a nice fast stage to run on. I don’t know much about the stages up around Rovaniemi, but I think the road we had was fairly similar. It’s always good to get out in the car again and the conditions were really nice – trust me, it was properly cold!
Video: Arctic Rally Finland
“Next week’s the set-up test for the event, but this was a good way of getting back into driving the car in this sort of specification, which is pretty different from what we had in Monte.”
M-Sport Ford begins its pre-event preparations with Gus Greensmith and Teemu Suninen the weekend before the event (February 20 / 21) ensuring conditions are as relevant as possible.