Gilbert targets Junior crown at home rally
Frenchman bids to secure Junior WRC title in Corsica
Haapamäki finished on the podium in all three rounds he tackled, most recently claiming second behind Gilbert at Neste Oil Rally Finland after a blistering fightback following a puncture brought him to within half a second of the Frenchman.
However, the Finn was unable to commit to Hannu’s Rally Team’s programme for the second part of the season and team boss Hannu Lehessaari confirmed Haapamäki’s withdrawal. He trailed Gilbert by 33 points, with Simone Tempestini a further point back.
Lehessaari said preparations for the rest of the year had included two days’ testing and a warm-up rally in Corsica, two days testing in Spain and two or three sessions at a Tarmac driving school.
“The plan for the rest of the season was intensive and a significant investment both financially and in terms of workload. Quite much to be learned and to be done in a very short time. However, without proper preparation it is neither reasonable nor safe to go to Corsica or Spain to learn the elements of Tarmac rallying,” he said.
Lehessaari said the team could run a young Finnish driver in its DS 3 R3-MAX in the final round at Wales Rally GB in place of Haapamäki.
Photo by Maciej Niechwiadowicz