Finnish Twingo R2's first first finish Grounded by ash, flying Finns drive 2,500km to race in Pirelli International Rally. Last weekend's Pirelli International Rally around Cumbria saw the first international victory for the Renault...
Finnish Twingo R2's first first finish
Grounded by ash, flying Finns drive 2,500km to race in Pirelli International Rally.
Last weekend's Pirelli International Rally around Cumbria saw the first international victory for the Renault Twingo R2 at the hands of a new flying Finn, Jarkko Nikara.
The rally started a little earlier than planned for Jarkko Nikara/Jarno Ottman and Matti Rantanen/Mikko Lukka; continuing problems with air transport caused the partnerships to drive some 2,500 kilometres from Finland to take part.
Although weary from the journey, Nikara and teammate Rantanen in the pair of Autosport Technology Twingo R2s set a blistering pace through the Kielder complex, trading fastest R2 times in the Sunoco-fuelled championship.
However, Rantanen's event was abruptly curtailed on SS5 when he suffered a front puncture causing him to slide into a ditch.
Nikara continued to amaze both the spectators and fellow competitors with a flawless performance that saw him bring the Twingo R2 home first in class and in 7th place overall, more than five minutes ahead of his nearest class rival.
Nikara's event was not without problems. His car developed a hydraulic clutch leak, leaving the 23-year-old to drive 80% of the event without a clutch.
Team engineer Richard Asquith was delighted with the performance of both cars and drivers.
"The stages were challenging, typical of Kielder, but the Twingo R2 stood up extremely well," said Asquith.
"We had the clutch problem and Rantanen's puncture was disappointing, but the overall competitiveness of our team was outstanding. Nikara's result was a just reward for a superb, mature drive. To achieve the Twingo R2's first international victory for Renault Sport is very special for us all."
Nikara was equally pleased with his event.
"This is my first time in Kielder and it has been great experience to drive these stages," he began. "I'm delighted to achieve such a fantastic result for the Team and Renault Sport."
The team is now preparing for a tarmac test before the Jim Clark Rally on 28th and 29th May.