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Mark-Egert Tiits clinched the strongest international performance at the FRC Riihimäki rally

14.01.2024 / Finnish Rally Championship / Communications

The opening round of the Finnish Rally Championship season held last Saturday in Riihimäki attracted a large number of international competitors. A total of nine foreign drivers started on the snowy Riihimäki route.

In the SM1 class for Rally2 cars, Kees Burger, who has been touring Finnish rallies for a long time, was sunny and cheerful as always. The Dutchman finished 6th in the top class and praised the Finnish rally organizers and special stages in his usual style at the finish line. 

"We enjoyed it a lot. Amazing rally, beautiful weather, beautiful organization. It's fun to do rallying like this." 

Two foreigners competed in the SM2 class, Ireland's Eamonn Kelly and Kazakhstan's Petr Borodin, who both competed in Ford Fiesta Rally3 cars. Borodin's rally ended on the second special stage after the Kazakh drove off the road. Last year's Junior WRC competition winner Kelly, on the other hand, went also off the road in the last stage, but was able to continue and finish the rally. The final gap to the class winner Henri Hokkala was more than 20 minutes.

The highest number of foreign drivers were seen in the SM3 class of Rally4 cars. Four crews started on the snowy tracks: Italians Valentino Ledda and Giovanni Trentin, Estonian Mark-Egert Tiits and Belgian Thomas Martens. Martens, who competed in a Renault Clio, went off on the penultimate special stage and was forced to retire, while the others made it to the finish line. Ledda, who also competed in a Clio, suffered technical problems during the rally and was the last finisher in the class, in 8th place. 

Trentin drove with confidence in his Ford Fiesta and finished fourth. Mark-Egert Tiits, who was responsible for the strongest foreign performance with a Fiesta, beat Trentin by a notch and claimed the last podium place. The gap to the class winner Leevi Lassila was just over 1,5 minutes.

"I'm very happy since we came here for testing purposes. It was a tough day but the stages were great and in good condition. That's pretty much what we hoped from the rally"

"It was my first rally in Finland, the roads here are a little bit different compared to Estonia. We have a long way to go to maximize the pace and the Finnish guys are going fast. I hope we can come back here and have some more fun" 

However, Trentin takes third place in the FRC standings after the opening round, as Triits has not signed up to drive the entire series. 

Ukrainians Serhii Potiko and Nadiia Soboleva competed in the SM5 class with Skoda Fabia R4 cars serviced by the Lithuanian Proracing team. However, both of the Ukrainian crews were forced to retire before the final celebrations. 

The Finnish Rally Championship series continues on February 1-3 at the legendary Arctic Lapland Rally in Rovaniemi, which is now being run for the 59th time.

Results: SM Riihimäki rally

SM1
1. Roope Korhonen 58:14,1
2. Benjamin Korhola +1:05,7
3. Anssi Rytkönen +1:56,1

SM2
1. Henri Hokkala 1:01:48,3
2. Jesse Kallio +15,5
3. Jooa Iivari +28,5

SM3
1. Leevi Lassila 1:06:06,7
2. Niko Kalmi +59,7
3. Mark Egert-Tiits +1:37,5

SM4
1. Ville Vatanen 1:09:56,6
2. Lauri Halonen +1:04,7
3. Tomi Tikkinen +1:41,9

SM5
1. Pekka Keski-Korsu 1:02:26,1
2. Arttu Lähdeniemi +1:30,3
3. Juha Salminen +1:31,5

All results »

FRC standings: 1/7

SM1
1. Roope Korhonen 25p
2. Benjamin Korhola 18p 
3. Anssi Rytkönen 15p 

SM2
1. Henri Hokkala 25p
2. Jesse Kallio 18p
3. Jooa Iivari 15p

SM3
1. Leevi Lassila 25p
2. Niko Kalmi 18p
3. Giovanni Trentin 15p

SM4
1. Ville Vatanen 25p
2. Lauri Halonen 18p
3. Tomi Tikkinen 15p

SM5
1. Pekka Keski-Korsu 25p
2. Arttu Lähdeniemi 18p
3. Juha Salminen 15p

Teams
1. Rautio Motorsport 43p
2. Printsport Racing 37p
3. Ouneva Oy 26p

Full standings »

Flying Finn Future Star

Finland is famous for its internationally successful rally drivers - both in past years, now and hopefully in the future as well.

In 2014, AKK Sports Oy, the organizer of Secto Rally Finland, the organizer of the Finnish World Cup rally, founded the Flying Finn Future Star program, which maps promising rally drivers, to accelerate the path of young talents towards an international breakthrough and the top of the world.

The driver who wins the program has received a significant prize from the beginning. In 2024, the winner will be offered participation in the 2024 Secto Rally Finland as a prize. He gets to show his skills on the gravel roads of the Finnish World Rally Championship with a complete competition package, including M-Sport's Ford Fiesta Rally3 car and a maintenance package: tires, fuel, participation fees, a test before the race, training and coaching, as well as consulting for managing PR and media relations. 

Read more here »

FRC calendar 2024

1) 12.-13.1. Riihimäki rally, Riihimäki (FJRC)
2) 1.-3.2. 59. Arctic Lapland Rally, Rovaniemi
3) 8.-9.3. Tuuri Rally, Alavus (FJRC)
4) 24.-25.5. Länsirannikon Rally, Turku (FJRC)
5) 14.-15.6. Pohjanmaa Rally, Seinäjoki (FJRC)
6) 23.-24.8. Rally Lahti, Lahti (FJRC)
7) 4.-5.10. Rally Kitee, Kitee (FJRC)

Contact details

Sporting Executive

Henrik Frank
henrik.frank@autourheilu.fi
040 534 9977

Promoter

Mika Heinonen
mika.heinonen@autourheilu.fi
045 7730 5990

Commercial

Lassi Liimatainen
lassi.liimatainen@autourheilu.fi
050 325 1120

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Photo: Taneli Niinimäki / AKK

Score top 5

1. Roope Korhonen / Anssi Viinikka 70 points LMM (Rally2)
2. Benjamin Korhola / Sebastian Virtanen 49 points VihUA (Rally2)
3. Anssi Rytkönen / Mikael Korhonen 38 points KoMoKe (R5)
4. Mikko Heikkilä / Kristian Temonen 34 points MäntsMK (Rally2)
5. Niclas Grönholm / Kristian Temonen 31 points EMSC (Rally2)

< See all >

Calendar 2024

1) 12.-13.1. SM Auto Sorsa Riihimäki-Ralli, Riihimäki
2) 1.-3.2. 59. Arctic Lapland Rally, Rovaniemi
3) 8.-9.3. SM Tuuri Ralli, Alavus
4) 24.-25.5. SM Mad-Croc Länsirannikon Ralli, Turku
5) 14.-15.6. SM Pohjanmaa Ralli, Seinäjoki
6) 23.-24.8. Future SM-ralli, Lahti
7) 4.-5.10. SM Ralli Kitee, Kitee

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