Gardemeister fastest, Lindholm scored the top points
The fifth Finnish Rally Championship round was driven today at Tampere. SM Exide-rally is often a test field for the WRC-drivers entered to Neste Rally Finland, which will take place in the beginning of August. This year Skoda Motorsport used the event for their purposes to see how fast their Skoda Fabia WRC will be in Finland. The result was positive: Toni Gardemeister finished as the winner of the event, Sebastian Lindholm, Peugeot 206 WRC was left 12,7 seconds behind after the 93 special stage kilometres.
It was nice to drive here and especially the last stage was really difficult, as it was raining a lot, Gardemeister told at the finish. -We got what we wanted: the car is running as it should and we are on the right track, he analysed.
Sebastian Lindholm was also satisfied: - Its been a hard day. Last special stage was horrible. I just decided to focus on scoring the top points and didnt even try to beat Gardemeister, as he was constantly a bit faster than me. Im driving for Finnish Championship, and thats all that mattered to me, he explained.
Jari-Matti Latvala drove the Ford Focus WRC03 for the first time in his carreer. -The best car I have ever driven and I drove faster than I have ever driven before, he told at the finish. He had some difficulties at the beginning to get used to the car, but eventually he showed good ability to adjust his driving as he was the second fastest at the last, really difficult stage of the day. Latvala finished third. Jouni Ampuja finished fourth with his Ford Focus WRC, but got the second best championship points, as Gardemeister and Latvala are not enetred to the series.
Juha Salo was very confident with his performance at gr N, over 2-litres. He crushed his opponents at the two first stages of the day, and the rest of the day was easy for him: - I would have wanted to drive tighter competition, but the gap was already too wide. The second place was enough for Ketomäki, so he didnt answer the fight, Salo explaned. Ketomäki had technical problems at the first two stages and that explained the situation: - I didnt want to try too hard and lose the points. It was enough for me to finish second at the end.
Janne Vähämiko has been winning all the events with his VW Golf in the class gr A, up to 2-litres this season. Today he was already crowned as the Finnish Champion 2004 of the class. The winner of gr N, up to 2-litres was Juho Hänninen.
Next event will be driven at Uusikaupunki, 11.9.
Results, top ten:
1. Toni Gardemeister, Skoda Fabia WRC, 43.37,6
2. Sebastian Lindholm, Peugeot 206 WRC, -12,7
3. Jari-Matti Latvala, Ford Focus WRC, -32,7
4. Jouni Ampuja, Ford Focus ERC, -33,5
5. Jarmo Mikkonen, Ford Focus WRC, -1.08,9
6. Juuso Pykälistö, Toyota Corolla WRC, -1.31,7
7. Juha Salo, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7, -2.32,1 (1. iso N)
8. Jukka Ketomäki, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7, -3.10,2 (2. iso N)
9. Marko Kakko, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7, -3.19,7 (3. iso N)
10. Toni Klemets, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7, -3.20,7 (4. iso N)
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22. Juho Hänninen, Honda Civic Type R, - 5.23,4 (1. pikku-n)
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26. Janne Vähämiko, VW Golf, -5.36,7 (1. pikku-a)
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See reusults: http://www.mantta.fi/yritykset/tenab/online.htm