Day 1: Prokop leads the C2 Junior Experience The Rally Finland, round four of the Junior World Rally Championship, got underway on Thursday night with a 2.06 kilometre superspecial stage around the lake in Killeri. On Friday the drivers then ...
Day 1: Prokop leads the C2 Junior Experience
The Rally Finland, round four of the Junior World Rally Championship, got underway on Thursday night with a 2.06 kilometre superspecial stage around the lake in Killeri. On Friday the drivers then tackled the first proper day of the rally, made up of 131.70 gruelling kilometres. After the first 11 stages, Martin Prokop is driving the lead Citroen and holding second place overall in the Junior classification just 6.1 seconds behind the category leader. Aaron Burkart and Shaun Gallagher, in the two other C2 Super 1600s, end the day sixth and seventh in the Junior classification respectively.
On just his second event in the Citroen C2-R2 MAX, Hans Weijs ends the opening day of Rally Finland in 11th place amongst the Juniors. Francesco Fanari, in another C2-R2 MAX, experienced mechanical problems on the superspecial yesterday and did not take the start this morning. He will re-join on Saturday under the SupeRally regulations.
Finally, Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia who are competing outside of the Junior Championship on this event have repaid the faith shown in them by Citroen Sport, BFGoodrich and Total by putting in an excellent performance with their C2 R2 Max amongst the Super 1600s and the C3 category cars.
Aaron Burkart (D) Michael Koelbach (D) (Citroen C2 Super 1600)
" The roads are very quick so it's hard for us to get to grips with them. But the car was handling extremely well, despite all the big jumps. Small cars tend to land quite heavily nose- down after long crests, but my C2 Super 1600 was very stable. During the second run through the stages that we drove this morning, I was able to find a better feeling and improve my times. Tomorrow, I hope things will be a little easier for me. My aim is to set quick times straight out of the box. "
Shaun Gallagher (EI) Paul Kiely (EI) (Citroen C2 Super 1600)
" This is a very tricky rally. I drove carefully right from the start; maybe a little too carefully! Nonetheless, it's not the C2 Super 1600 that's holding me back from going quickly, as it seems very well-suited to these roads. Instead, it's more down to me not quite having the confidence to go fast. Still, over the course of the day I managed to build up a better feeling with the route, and I can certainly vouch for this rally's reputation of being the quickest of them all! "
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) (Citroen C2-R2 MAX)
(Not competing in the JWRC on this event)
" I set off for the superspecial yesterday feeling slightly nervous. I'm not running as part of the Junior Championship on this event, but I knew that people still expected me to do well. So I have to try and put in some good performances. I'm pleased with how we've got on today in our C2-R2 MAX. The stages are absolutely stunning, the jumps even more so, and it's a real pleasure to drive here. The second passage through the stages was quite tricky. The roads were badly broken up, so all the reference points we had noted had changed as well. Also the new tyres that BF Goodrich have developed have shown a great level of performance. "
Martin Prokop (CZ) Jan Tomanek (CZ) (Citroen C2 Super 1600)
" We got off to a very good start in the morning. It was great during the first loop of stages, as we were leading the Juniors. The second loop didn't go quite as well for us. Our set-up did not really suit the roads once all the cars had been through, which is why we lost quite a lot of time there. So Kosciuszko took over the lead at the end of the day, although I hope to get it back again tomorrow! "
Hans Weijs (NL) Hans Van Goor (NL) (Citroen C2-R2 MAX)
" We made a steady start this morning, as I'm not really used to this type of rally. My experience on gravel is not massive either, so I didn't really feel too comfortable on the stages to start with. I enjoyed myself more in the afternoon, but then I landed heavily after a jump, which damaged the sump guard and the radiator. I got through the rest of the afternoon more by luck than judgement, so I'm very pleased to be safely back at service tonight. "