Sunday | 04 May 2014

One to watch in Argentina: Jari Ketomaa

The Drive DMack World Rally Team driver has finished second on two WRC2 events so far this season, but we think the tricky stages in Argentina could be where he makes the leap up on to the top step of the podium. Here’s why:

Last round heartbreak
The 35-year-old was a great prospect for victory on the last WRC2 rounds in Sweden and Portugal, but on both occasions he narrowly lost out at the eleventh hour.

In Sweden, Ketomaa had to limp through the final icy downhill stage on badly worn tyres, allowing Karl Kruuda to grab an unlikely win by 2.3sec.

Most recently, in Portugal, Nasser Al-Attiyah pulled a fantastic final stage performance out of the bag to shunt his rival into second place by 11.6sec.

The fact that Ketomaa was beaten so late in the day, and by such small margins, should give the Finn extra inspiration heading to the challenging stages at Rally Argentina.

A DMACK advantage?
Including Ketomaa, ten of the 17 WRC2 runners in Argentina will use DMACK’s DMG+2 gravel tyre, and this too could benefit the Finn.

The soft compound version is well suited to soft, sandy road surfaces, and the expected cooler temperatures should help with tyre wear. Argentina is where DMACK recorded its best WRC finish to date – fourth in 2012 courtesy of Martin Prokop.

A long time DMACK runner, Ketomaa is  very familiar with the tyre, and his confidence in its performance should give him a boost.

Experience and support
Ketomaa has been competing in the WRC consistently since 2008 and has built up a vast amount of experience in different cars and on different rallies.

He may have only contested Rally Argentina once before but the fact that he has experienced co-driver, Kaj Lindstrom, by his side will stand him in good stead and may just give him the winning edge to see off rivals like Al-Attiyah and team-mate Ott Tanak.

The Ford Fiesta R5
The M-Sport-build machine has won half of the four WRC2 rounds that have been contested so far this year (the others were won by Karl Kruuda in a S2000 Fiesta and Nasser Al Attiyah in a RRC Fiesta) so its a model with a succesful track record.

If Ketomaa can find a good rhythm in his driving and avoid the many pitfalls that can befall a driver in Argentina, he should have a car that is capable to taking him to a maximum points haul.