Four out of four in Finland for Volkswagen Four outings, four victories - that's the impressive track record established by the Milton Keynes-based Volkswagen team in the demanding Finnish Rally Championship after another resounding 2-litre...
Four out of four in Finland for Volkswagen
Four outings, four victories - that's the impressive track record established by the Milton Keynes-based Volkswagen team in the demanding Finnish Rally Championship after another resounding 2-litre class win at the weekend. Driver Tapio Laukkanen and the Sony, Revolution Wheels and Pirelli-backed Golf GTI 16V cruised to a three-minute victory on Saturday's (Mar 9) Jamsa Rally to establish a commanding championship lead.
The result gives the team a huge boost as it prepares for its three-car attack on the British Championship, starting with the Rally of Wales on March 22, not least because Saturday's victory was the first competition outing for the team's 'secret weapon', a Formula 1-style seven-speed sequential-shift gearbox. "The new gearbox is a major step forward for us," said Steve Bagnall of Volkswagen's rallying partner team, SBG Sport of Daventry, "and it will prove a major advantage for us in Britain. It performed extremely well on the Jamsa Rally and will definitely be used in the UK."
Flying Finn Laukkanen's fourth 2-litre class win gives him a total of 67.5 points in the Finnish Championship, 32.5 more than his nearest rival, Antti Nikkila, with four rounds of the eight-rally series to go. "Tapio's lead couldn't really be much bigger at this stage," said Steve Bagnall, "but there is still a long way to go yet and I won't feel comfortable until we have another win in the bag."
Laukkanen and his co-driver Risto Mannisenmaki will be joined on their Mobil 1/Top Gear RACMSA British Rally Championship campaign by fellow Finns Jouko Puhakka and Marko Lehtinen, as well as British pairing Ashley Blenkhorn and Greg Haynes. Puhakka comes to Britain for his first outing outside Scandinavia also riding high in the Finnish Championship - on Saturday he collected his fourth straight Group N victory in his home series.
The Volkswagen team is supported by Sony In-Car Hi-Fi, Revolution Wheels, Pirelli, Trigard, Teboil, Siimesvaara and Brian James Trailers.
-- Volkswagen rallying http://www.demon.co.uk/racing/vwrally.html