Fiesta S2000 Crews Set For Battle Over S-WRC Lead
Next week’s Neste Oil Rally Finland will mark the return of the Super 2000 World Rally Championship where the Ford Fiesta S2000 crews aim to reclaim the lead in the overall S-WRC standings.
M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta S2000 has already claimed seven podium finishes this season including three outright victories and with only ten points separating the top three Ford Fiesta S2000 crews, the competition is set to be fierce at the fifth round of the S-WRC.
Martin Prokop currently leads the way for the Fiesta S2000 crews and is second overall, 11 points adrift of the current S-WRC championship leader Juho Hänninen. Bernardo Sousa rounds off the championship’s top three and lies seven points adrift of Prokop. Ott Tänak is currently fifth – a mere three points behind Sousa. Frigyes Turán is seventh overall with a total of 21 points.
Prokop – who recently completed an endurance motorcycle ride from Prague to Paris - returns to the S-WRC in second place. The former J-WRC champion has had an impressive run already this season – taking a win at Rally Mexico followed by another podium in Sardinia. Prokop contested last year’s Rally Finland where he finished fourth in S-WRC and 13th overall. The Czech driver is hoping to use his extensive knowledge of the blisteringly quick Finnish roads to his advantage in order to secure his third podium of the year.
Ott Tänak had an incredible start to this year’s S-WRC - the young Estonian finished third at his debut in Mexico and took the win in Sardinia finishing a remarkable seventh overall – the best ever finish in the S-WRC. A stoke of bad luck for Tänak - who was leading after the first day in Greece - saw the driver lose the championship lead but with four rounds remaining and only 21 points separating the top five drivers, the title remains for the taking. The 23-year-old – who was part of the Pirelli Star Driver training programme last year – made an impression after winning in the P-WRC at last year’s Rally Finland and the Estonian will be aiming for a similar feat this year in S-WRC.
Reigning Portuguese Rally Champion Bernardo Sousa took a well-deserved victory at Jordan Rally earlier this year and his point-scoring consistency has made him another likely candidate to win the hotly-contested eight-round championship. The Madeira-based driver will be competing in Finland for the first time next week but is hoping that a pre-event test on Sunday will help the 24-year-old adapt to the notoriously quick and technical Finnish roads.
Frigyes Turán had a difficult start to the season but showed his capabilities behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta S2000 when he secured his first ever podium at the previous S-WRC round in Greece. The Hungarian driver will make his debut in Finland where the driver will be aiming for a clear run in order to secure more valuable points for the overall leaderboard.
Martin Prokop said:
“The championship has got very tight at the top - there are five drivers who could easily take the title so I think the competition for the next couple of rallies is going to be tough. I really want to finish on the podium - next week will be my seventh time in Finland so I’ve got a lot of experience at this event but this is rallying and anything can happen. I think the most important factor is to get to the finish without any problems and to keep the pressure on Hänninen.”
Bernardo Sousa said:
“I’ve been having a lot of physiotherapy recently to try and heal an old leg injury that I’ve had since the start of the season. Now I’m feeling much better but I’ve been missing rallying as I’ve not been in a car since Greece. Next week will be my first time in Finland and, for sure, it’s going to be one heck of a ride! The goal is to try and finish the rally, not to lose points for the boys in front and of course to get more experience for the future.”
Ott Tänak said:
“We’ve been really busy over the summer – we’ve done a complete rebuild of the car after the accident in Greece and I was also in Estonia with Markko last week helping out as a mechanic. We will have a test in Estonia this weekend but I’ve been to Finland twice before so I know the roads quite well - hopefully this will give me an advantage over Sousa and Turán who will be going there for the first time. For sure, I’d like to finish on the podium but as I have said before, my aim for this year is to get as much experience in the car as I can and not to make any silly mistakes.”
Frigyes Turán said:
“Finland is one of the most spectacular but one of the most difficult rallies on the calendar. My co-driver and I have both been there as spectators and it’s a very exciting rally with amazing jumps. Many of our opponents know the stages well and that experience is a great advantage for them. We do have some videos of the stages so that's how we started our preparation but we need to concentrate on the recce and to make the best possible notes. Kruuda used our car at Rally Estonia last week and he took good care of it. We are now ready for the challenge in Finland and our primary goal is to get as many points as we can. For sure, the rhythm and the speed of the stages are new for us but we will do our best.”