Jarkko Nikara: Kruuda is a tough contender in Mikkeli
The second round of the Finnish Rally Championship starts today in Mikkeli. There will be points on offer in four FRC classes and the teams will also compete for points in the teams´ championship. The rally kicks off on Friday evening and continues on Saturday morning. It will finish on Saturday around 5:30 PM.
The SM1 points leader among the entrants in Mikkeli is Jarkko Nikara from Saarijärvi. There are lots of tough challengers on the start line, but maybe the toughest of them all is Karl Kruuda, who won WRC2 in Rally Sweden a couple of weeks ago. Kruuda is strong because he racked up a lot of competitive kilometres and got a good result, Nikara knows.
Nikara was second behind Janne Tuohino in the previous FRC event having suffered from lack of power in his car through the rally. Those problems are now over.
We had a loose hose clamp on the boost side of the turbo so it was not a big problem when we located it after the rally. Now all the clamps are tight. We´ve done some tens of kilometres of testing and everythig works OK, Nikara told.
Nikara thinks the road conditions in Mikkeli will be one of the deciding factors. There will be gravel on the roads and it´s all about making your tires last. You have to think about your strategy from that point of view and maybe even consider taking two spares in the car.
In the overall rally, the challenger might well be someone outside his own class. - Juha Salo is very fast, Nikara reminds us. Salo, the reigning Finnish champion, is competing in a different class this year (SM2), but based on what we saw in the season´s opening rally he might well compensate for the car´s limitations with his driving skills. The cars in SM1 have four-wheel drive and they are ´R´ cars especially built into rally cars, whereas the cars in SM2 are four-wheel drive cars based on production cars.