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Riku Tahko fought third in Kouvola after a puncture - “Awesome to compete again”

08.09.2020 / Joni Pakarinen

The Kouvola Finnish Championship Rally, which was run on Saturday, was also the second last Ralli SM event of the season. Riku Tahko, who suffered a puncture in the first special stage, was able to rise to third in the SM2 class.

The Ralli SM series, which was forced to take a break after March, continued on Saturday in Kouvola. Tahko, who was fourth in points in the SM2 class, went on a chase to win, well prepared. However, the first special stage, about 10 kilometers long, brought dark clouds to Tahko's sky. 

- 3 kilometers from the start the stone had spun on the driving line and the tire got flat immediately. The remaining 7 kilometers we drove on the rim alone and lost 56 seconds. The Crew had their feelings low after stage, and it was strictly considered how such a stone could spin on the driving line, but the drivers higher in the starting order confirmed that they had seen the same stone and were also able to dodge it. So the error was our own, Riku Tahko reported the events of the opening special stage.

However, Tahko, who fell to the tail of the class, did not give up but went to run for the top of the class, stage by stage. Already in the second special stage Tahko was second, only two seconds from the top. The position also improved by two notches immediately. In the fourth special stage in Tykkimäki, Tahko managed to drive the fastest time and rise to fifth place. 

Tahko, who drove to the top places in the following special stages, was able to repeat the fastest time on the special stage that ended the rally, and in the final results Tahko was in third place.

- It is annoying, of course, a puncture, but after that we were able fight towards the podium. It was awesome to be able to compete again after a long break. I got a good feeling from the second stage, when I managed to attack even at a long special stage.

- We had a really good preparation for the competition within the tests and the Lammi test competition. In Kouvola, the roads were fast, but technically fast, so the roads fit really well for the Mini Rally2kit and the car worked just fine anyway. 

The last rally of the season will be run on the last weekend of September in Seinäjoki. After Kouvola, Riku Tahko is still fourth in the SM2 class. In front are Ville Hautamäki, the leader of the series, Jaro Kinnunen, who won in Kouvola, and Jussi Lindberg, who has had steady season so far. The points situation is tight, as Tahko has 11 points to reach the top.

- Unfortunately, the championship is not in our own hands, but we will go to Seinäjoki to fight for victory.

Kuva: Hannu Rainamo

Score top 5

1. Teemu Asunmaa / Jani Salo 107.5 points Alavuden UA (R5)
2. Emil Lindholm / Mikael Korhonen 95 points NHD (R5)
3. Mikko Heikkilä / Henri Arpiainen 61 points MäntsMK (R5)
4. Esa Ruotsalainen / Jukka Ruotsalainen 51 points SaarUA (R5)
5. Juha Salo / Pasi Kilpeläinen 49.5 points Karkkilan UA (R5)

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Calendar 2020

1. Arctic Lapland Rally, Rovaniemi 16.-18.1.
2. SM Vaakuna-Ralli Mikkeli 7.-8.2.
3. SM Itäralli, Joensuu 28.-29.2.
4. SM O.K. Auto-ralli, Kouvola 4.-5.9.
5. Pohjanmaa SM-Ralli, Seinäjoki 25.-26.9.

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