The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team completed the opening day of Rally Finland with Janne Tuohino in 10th place and Armin Schwarz in 14th. Jani Paasonen went off the road for two minutes on SS2 trying to avoid the stricken car of Gigi...
The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team completed the opening day of Rally Finland with Janne Tuohino in 10th place and Armin Schwarz in 14th.
Jani Paasonen went off the road for two minutes on SS2 trying to avoid the stricken car of Gigi Galli that was blocking the road and then had to withdraw from the leg after a wheel collapsed under the car following a heavy landing on SS5.
Despite the rain, a large crowd gathered last night at the Killeri track on the edge of Jyvaskyla to see the opening superspecial. Armin set third fastest time and all three Skoda Motorsport drivers won their heats.
Today Janne set five top 10 times and lies just outside the points after a day where a tricky mixture of wet and dry conditions demanded great care. Armin has driven steadily on an event where local knowledge is essential for a top result but also recorded two top 10 times during the opening leg.
Tomorrow's leg features eight stages to the south west of Jyvaskyla (totalling 144.76kms). The leg includes the famous Ouninpohja stage which has had to be split into two sections this year as the average speed in 2004 exceeded the130kph permitted maximum. The day's penultimate stage, Moksi-Leustu, is the longest of the event at 40.96kms.
Janne Tuohino: "This morning I tried to make a careful start because the roads were incredibly slippy. Perhaps I was too careful at times and I must push a bit harder. We were quite lucky on SS5, which was new for everyone, when we landed slightly off line after a big jump and drove for 100 metres in the ditch. Fortunately there wasn't a rock or we might not have come out again."
Armin Schwarz: "This is an event where local experience is very important. On stages that I know and feel confident on I can set quite good times but there are many that I don't know so well and there I have to be careful. We had a transmission problem on SS5 that caused the engine to stall three times in hairpins but otherwise the car has been fine."
Jani Paasonen: "What happened on SS2 was just bad luck. Gigi's car was across the road with spectators trying to get him going again. When I tried to get past I got stuck on the rocks in the ditch. Everyone, including Gigi, tried to help but we lost two minutes and I lost concentration for a few stages. On SS5 we had a hard landing after the big jump that damaged the suspension. A rear wheel folded under the car and although we tried to reach the finish it was impossible for us to go any further."
Joan Sureda (Skoda Motorsport team manager): "Jani was unlucky with what happened following Gigi's accident because we were hoping that he could bring a good result here. Janne has driven a good day but tomorrow he must push a little harder and try to move up the order. Armin has done exactly what we asked him to do and I am very pleased with his performance so far."