Wednesday | 11 Feb 2015

Winter experts set sights on WRC 2 Sweden success

Nordic drivers dominate the 15-car WRC 2 entry at Rally Sweden (12 - 15 February) and ‘outsiders’ face a tough task to dislodge them from the podium places.

Finn Jari Ketomaa (pictured above), championship runner-up in 2014, returns in a Ford Fiesta R5 looking to improve on second in Sweden last year after being pipped for victory in the final stage by Karl Kruuda.

“We had a good performance last year on this rally when the conditions were very tough and I’ve been working with DMACK on some specific improvements to the tyres for this year,” said Ketomaa.

Team-mate Eyvind Brynildsen drives a Regional Rally Car version of the Fiesta and has enjoyed a great start to his season in the Norwegian Championship, claiming maximum points in the first two rounds.

Swede Fredrik Åhlin finished third last year and returns in a Fiesta R5, while fellow countryman and 2013 JWRC champion Pontus Tidemand warmed up by winning the Swedish Rally Sprint title last month.

Stéphane Lefebvre - first pure winter rally

“As a competitive person, it would be foolish to say that we aim for anything but the top position, but it will be super tough competition in the WRC 2 category with many who want to finish on top of the podium on Sunday. We will fight to the last metre and I’m really looking forward to seeing Swedish flags along the stages,” said Tidemand.

Anders Grøndal cannot be overlooked, especially as the Norwegian has Citroen’s DS 3 R5 at his disposal for the first time in the WRC.

Among those determined to ensure the ‘locals’ don’t have it all their own way are Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Fiesta RRC) and Stéphane Lefebvre (DS 3 R5).

Al Rajhi, from Saudi Arabia, led for much of the rally last year before spinning and later rolling out of contention. Lefebvre leads the standings after winning the opening round in Monte-Carlo but this will be his first pure winter rally.

Last year’s Production Cup champion, Max Rendina, heads a three-car entry in the category within WRC 2. The Italian, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Eco X, is joined by the Subaru Imprezas of Gianluca Linari and Eamonn Boland.

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