Tue 02 Aug 2022

‘No pressure’ on Huttunen in Finland

The only prize Jari Huttunen needs to be looking for at this week’s Secto Rally Finland (4 - 7 August) is a finish according to M-Sport Ford World Rally Team principal Richard Millener.

The Finn steps up from his WRC2 programme to make his top-flight debut with a Ford Puma Rally1 car in Jyväskylä. 

Having enjoyed past success with Marcus Grönholm, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala at Rally Finland, Millener was quick to deflect the weight of expectation away from the latest Finn to step aboard an M-Sport Ford at home.

“We have to be very realistic,” said Millener. “To jump into one of these cars and come anything but last of the Rally1 cars is what I'd kind of expect. Especially on an event like Finland, where it’s going to be very fast.

"He doesn’t know the exact limits of the car and that kind of stuff, so you have to be very realistic. For me, it’s all about him and his own rally and improving over the course of the weekend.”

Huttunen tested in the Puma for the first time in Estonia ahead of last month’s Rally Estonia.

Millener added: “He had a good day and really enjoyed it, but it would be a massive ask to expect anything other than a finish and a constant evolution over the weekend.

“It’s about just trying to understand how fast you can go in these cars. And understand the limits of the car.”

Huttunen has started his home WRC round five times already. The 28-year-old finished on the class podium on three of those occasions and even won on his WRC2 debut in 2017.

“It is a very special moment for me to be able to make my Rally1 debut on my home event in Finland,” he said. “There will be, I’m sure, an amazing atmosphere with the fans and it’s always a fantastic event to compete on.

“I have a lot of experience on this event at Rally2 level, so it’s really exciting to make the step-up to Rally1 here. We did some testing last month, and the car feels good, so we’re looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do.”

  • Full coverage from Secto Rally Finland will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.
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