Friday | 31 Jul 2015

Photo special: Finland duo over and out

Neste Oil Rally Finland lived up to its punishing reputation on Friday when its high-speed stages forced two Manufacturer Team World Rally Cars onto the retirement list.

Volkswagen Motorsport driver Andreas Mikkelsen was first to hit trouble, rolling his Polo R into the scenery just one kilometre into the morning's final stage, Himos.

"Himos is a stage I know very well and one where I've always been fast, but it has a new beginning this year and that's where I went off," Mikkelsen told

"Basically a pace note was a little bit too aggressive. I had 'maybe flat' in my notes and even though I lifted a bit it wasn't enough. The car caught the outside and dragged us in. Then we did some rolls. I couldn't count how many but it was quite a heavy one. I think we were quite lucky."

The car was recovered to Volkswagen's service base where the damage was found to be too extensive for Mikkelsen to be able to restart.

Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon's recent run of terrific form came to an abrupt end approaching the finish of the very next stage, the repeat of Pihlakakoski. "It happened on a flat-out right that led into a left," Paddon explained. 

"To get the line you have to tuck in to the right of the right-hander. Unfortunately there was a rock in there that we didn't see and that broke the steering straightaway. From there on we were just passengers.

"We went straight through the left-hander and into the trees on the other side. John [Kennard] and I are okay, but the front of the car looks a bit average."

Back at the team's base the damage to the i20 World Rally Car proved to be worse than average and the Kiwi crew was forced to retire.

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