Neste Rally Finland (28 - 31 July) expects 20 World Rally Cars to start the Jyväskylä-based forest spectacular – a figure not surpassed in the FIA World Rally Championship for almost eight years.
The stellar entry matches Rally Sweden in 2013 and the last time that number was exceeded was at ADAC Rallye Deutschland in 2008 when 23 cars from the WRC’s headline category were in action.
The rally, round eight of 14, features the regular three-car entries from Volkswagen for Sébastien Ogier (above), Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen and Hyundai for Dani Sordo, Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon.
Neuville and Paddon will drive for the Korean manufacturer’s lead squad with Sordo in the second-string line-up.
Mads Østberg and Eric Camilli drive Ford Fiesta RS cars for the M-Sport squad, with Ott Tänak aiming to bounce back from his Poland disappointment with the DMACK team. Also in Fiestas are Lorenzo Bertelli, Yazeed Al Rajhi, Ukraine’s Oleksii Tamrazov, Abdulla Al Qassimi from the United Arab Emirates and Finn Matti Koskelo.
Kris Meeke returns for his first outing since victory in Portugal in May and is joined in Abu Dhabi’s Citroën DS 3 cars by Craig Breen and Khalid Al Qassimi. Argentine Marcos Ligato and José Alberto Nicolas drive similar cars, while Valeriy Gorban is in a Mini John Cooper.
Henning Solberg was entered in a Fiesta RS but will now drive a Fiesta R5 in WRC 2, which has 20 entries including Poland winner Teemu Suninen, fellow Finn Esapekka Lappi and championship leader Elfyn Evans.
Ten drivers will fight for Junior WRC honours, including Juuso Nordgren, named this year’s Future Rally Star of Finland after winning a prize drive on his home WRC round.
Clerk of the course Kai Tarkiainen was delighted with the 81 entries. “Another year and another fantastic entry list for Neste Rally Finland. Not only have we attracted more World Rally Car entries than any other round of the WRC so far this season, we have a really strong WRC 2 entry,” he said.
The entry list can be viewed here.