Secto Rally Finland was a big and busy event for KMS Racing
KMS Racing brought three cars to battle at Secto Rally Finland. In the WRC3 class, Turkish driver Ali Turkkan was a strong contender for the podium, but ultimately had to retire on the penultimate special stage. Meanwhile, Finnish drivers Ville Laakso and Raimo Kaisanlahti successfully crossed the finish line on Sunday.
The official M-Sport partner in Finland, KMS Racing, entered three cars in the Secto Rally Finland held in Jyväskylä. In the WRC3 class, Ville Laakso and Jani Luhtaniemi competed with a Ford Fiesta Rally3 Evo, while the Turkish duo Ali Turkkan and Burak Erdener raced in partnership with their own team, Castrol Ford Team Turkey, and KMS Racing.
Laakso and Luhtaniemi had a smooth run for most of the rally, except for a puncture on Saturday’s Special Stage 16. It was Laakso's first World Rally Championship event, and he had a positive experience.
"The rally has gone really well, and we managed to increase our pace. On Saturday's final stage, we suffered a puncture, but other than that, it's been an amazing day. The team's support has been outstanding, as always. We’ve been enjoying all the stages in this rally," Laakso smiled during Saturday's service.
In the WRC3 class, Turkish driver Ali Turkkan was in contention for the final spot on the podium for most of the rally. However, late on Saturday, the young talent encountered two punctures in back-to-back stages, dropping him to fourth place. Unfortunately, Turkkan's rally came to a premature end with an off on the penultimate special stage.
In the two-wheel-drive cars, Raimo Kaisanlahti and co-driver Patric Öhman competed in the class for RC4-regulation cars. While Kaisanlahti held the fifth position in the class, the veteran had an off on Special Stage 15. However, thanks to the team's hard work, he was able to continue under the Super Rally rule and ultimately finished fifth in his class, marking his 17th appearance in the Finnish World Rally Championship event.
Jussi Kumpumäki, the team manager of KMS Racing, expressed his gratitude to the team's personnel for their week-long efforts during the season's main event.
"Ali's retirement is unfortunate; he was on his way to a great result. Ville's pace improved steadily throughout the weekend, and we're glad Raimo could continue today and finish this remarkable event. There were no technical issues with anyone, so overall, we're feeling positive. Our guys put in long hours at the workshop to get Ville's car ready after the roll in the Swedish ERC rally. Meanwhile, some of our crew were in Estonia with Ali for the World Rally Championship event, but we managed to get the car ready for Jyväskylä. We're a small team, and competing in a World Rally Championship round with three cars is always a big effort. Nevertheless, everything went smoothly, and a big thank you to the team for the weekend," Kumpumäki shared.
KMS Racing's competition season continues next weekend in Lahti when the Finnish Rally Championship series resumes with the Future SM Rally on August 11-12.
Secto Rally Finland WRC3 classifications
1. Benjamin Korhola 2:54:27,0
2. Jesse Kallio +35,6
3. Filip Kohn +5:12,6
4. Henri Timonen +14:15,1
5. Tuomas Vihtari +20:53,2
7. Ville Laakso +23:16,2
Secto Rally Finland RC4 category classifications
1. Justus Räikkönen 3:07:29,9 Peugeot 208 Rally4 FIN
2. Matteo Fontana +9:03,0 Peugeot 208 Rally4 ITA
3. Yuki Yamamoto +17:07,5 (SR) Renault Clio Rally4 JPN
4. Nao Otake +39:33,8 (SR) Renault Clio Rally4 JPN
5. Raimo Kaisanlahti +1:01:57,9 (SR) Ford Fiesta Rally4 FIN
Kuva: Merita Mäkinen