Fri 04 Aug 2023

Home ace Huttunen shines in WRC2

Jari Huttunen showed he has lost none of the speed which carried him to the 2020 WRC3 title. The 29-year-old leads the way in WRC2 after Friday’s action at Secto Rally Finland.

Twelve months ago Huttunen was piloting a top-level Ford Puma Rally1 at his home round of the FIA World Rally Championship. This year he is out to prove a point against the WRC2 regulars after a lack of funding has left him unable to contest a full programme in the premier support category.

Huttunen led after Thursday’s super special stage in Harju but was demoted to the runner-up spot by fellow Finn Sami Pajari, who romped to an impressive four stage wins in a similar Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, early on Friday morning.

Pajari ran as high up as sixth in the overall rally standings but disaster struck the 21-year-old in the day’s penultimate stage when he punctured and leaked 11.1sec limping through 9.14km of Halttula, handing Huttunen a lead of 12.9sec overnight.

Nikolay Gryazin made a steady start but climbed to third after increasing his pace throughout the day. The Fabia man trailed Pajari by just three-tenths of a second and held a 9.1sec advantage over the Ford Fiesta Rally2 of M-Sport man Adrien Fourmaux.

Fourmaux inherited fourth at the expense of Emil Lindholm, who encountered front-right suspension failure on his Hyundai i20 N Rally2 in SS9. Lindholm and co-driver Reeta Hämäläinen tried to carry out makeshift repairs but retired on the road section shortly afterwards.

Rally Estonia winner Andreas Mikkelsen completed the top five in another Škoda despite being hampered by a suspension damper issue in the morning.

WRC2 frontrunners hit late drama
Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM