A Successful Learning Trip for Dahlqvist, Räikkönen and KMS Racing in Saaremaa
KMS Racing competed in the traditional Saaremaa Rally with a two-car line-up. Making their debuts outside of Finland were Raoul Dahlqvist and Justus Räikkönen, and for the latter the rally marked a 4WD debut as well. The learning trip was a success, as Räikkönen scored a podium and Dahlqvist finished sixth in category.
The official M-Sport partner in Finland, KMS Racing, competed in the traditional Saaremaa Rally with a two-car line-up of young talents. At the helm of the four-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta Rally3 Evo was the fresh FRC3 category champion Justus Räikkönen, co-driven Mikael Korhonen. Meanwhile, Raoul Dahlqvist took his first steps in the Fiesta Rally4, co-driven by experienced Antti Linnaketo.
The two-day event marked Räikkönen's competitive debut with a four-wheel-drive rally car. The 18-year-old rally prodigy kicked off the competition by acquainting himself with the new machine. After Friday's leg, Räikkönen placed fourth among the Rally3 cars. However, his rapid learning curve elevated the Finn to third place and onto the podium in his four-wheel drive debut.
"On the first day, I wanted to take it cautiously and get a feel for the car. But after checking out some of Saturday's stages during the reconnaissance, a few seemed like they might offer good grip despite the adverse weather conditions, allowing us to pick up the pace on those stages. I learned a tremendous amount, and this was to be more of a learning experience than a competitive outing. I gained more knowledge during the rally than in all our test kilometers combined. These lessons will undoubtedly carry me far into the future. A big thanks to the team and our partners for this opportunity," Räikkönen analyzed his rally.
Raoul Dahlqvist, piloting the front-wheel-drive Rally4, embarked on his maiden international rally. The 18-year-old driver from Pohjankuru kicked off the event cautiously on Friday, and consistent driving ultimately placed him sixth in his class on the overall leaderboard.
"I'm feeling good about the rally, even though we weren't close to the front runners. We successfully completed a very challenging rally without major errors, which was our primary goal. My driving improved steadily throughout the weekend, and we gained invaluable experience in Saaremaa. It's a bit disappointing that all the competitors behind us retired, leading us to finish last in our class. I want to extend a huge thanks to Jussi, Antti, and the entire KMS Racing team for a fantastic week, as well as our partners for making it possible," Dahlqvist reflected on his debut in Estonia.
Saaremaa Rally results:
Category EMV3 – Rally3:
1. Hubert Laskowski 1:10:59,9 Ford Fiesta Rally3
2. Patric Enok +10,8 Ford Fiesta Rally3
3. Justus Räikkönen +1:21,0 Ford Fiesta Rally3
Category EMV4 – Rally4:
1. Joosep Planken 1:13:04,4 Ford Fiesta Rally4
2. Jaspar Vaher +2,1 Ford Fiesta Rally4
3. Mark-Egert Tiits +1:16,5 Ford Fiesta Rally4
6. Raoul Dahlqvist +3:30,6 Ford Fiesta Rally4
Photo: Mark Aleksejev