Juuso Pykälistö, the man of the day
The first day of the rally started in a fine weather, only -13
degrees celsius, and temperature was rising.
Pykälistö started a bit carefully, his time on the first short stage was the third. Winner of the winner of the stage was Jussi Välimäki with his Hyundai WRC, and Janne Tuohino in Ford Focus WRC was third.
Pykälistö took the lead on the third stage. Välimäki was hangin on the second, but Janne Tuohino was already close. On the fourth stage Tuohino took over and Välimäki had to satisfy for the third.
The fifth stage of the day, Siikakämä was the toughest. Pykälistö was again fastest and he beat Tuohino with nearly 12 seconds. Välimäki had troubles: - We broke the gear box halfway on the stage, but fortunately the team got it together, said the co-driver Tero Gardemeister.
One of the positive surprices was Kristian Sohlberg, who drove his Mitsubishi WRC2 car in the rally for the first time. - I'm a bit surpriced my self too, he said. -I've tested only about 100 km with WRC-car, and I have to admit that I still make mistakes, like breaking too early.
The other Mitsubishi driver in this competition was former F1-driver Mika Häkkinen. This was his first rally and he had'nt set any high hopes. We could say, that the biggest challenge for him was propably getting through the tough stages. He finished the day on 17th position in class A, over 2-litres.
Group N leader: Hannu Hotanen
Jukka Ketomäki took the lead of Gr N, over 2-litre class. Best on the second stage was Jukka Aho, but only temporarily as Hotanen took the position on the third stage. This class will sleep over night in the following order: 1. Hotanen, 2. Ketomäki, 3. Salo.
Gr A, up to 2-litres Janne Vähämiko lead on the first stage, but after that Tomi Tukiainen took the place and kept it until the overnight halt. Juha Häkkinen will sleep over night on third position.
Marko Mänty was the leader of Gr N, up to 2-litres, Pekka Turunen second and Timo Mäenpää third. Mäenpää was the first competitor to suffer from the storming snow on the fifth stage.
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