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TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC makes a promising start

July 25, 2016

With the overarching goal of making ever-better cars through motorsport in mind, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC team has been working on the development of the Yaris WRC for the past nine months. After a great deal of team effort had been put in, the Yaris WRC enjoyed its first outing this spring on the fast gravel roads of Finland, before heading for southern Europe. This intensive test program has confirmed that the Yaris WRC, which will be competing in the World Rally Championship next season, is a well-designed car.

Ten test sessions covering some 5,000 kilometers

Toyota Yaris WRC

Bound by utmost secrecy but yet filled with great excitement, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC team undertook the very first shakedown of the Yaris WRC in May this year in Puuppola, Finland, which is not far from the team’s workshops. This first, highly promising session has since been followed-up with many others. Although the Yaris has now completed over 5,000 kilometres of road testing, it is still in the early stages of its development.

“We have worked hard to be on time” admitted Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC. “We have completed a lot of test sessions since May, and we have stuck to our schedule. The addition of a second car helped us to up the pace and diversify the development testing. We want to test the vehicle in all conditions and on all surfaces so that we are ready for 2017.”

Two Yaris WRCs for greater efficiency

Toyota Yaris WRC

With the view to fully optimise the development program, a second Yaris WRC was quickly added to the test schedule.

“The reason we are working with two cars is that, we wanted to split development into two parts. The first team works only in Finland, concentrating on the reliability and endurance of the car, with a test program focused on the engine and gearbox. The second test team is focused on the suspension, and is working at the other European bases, such as in Spain and Portugal,” explained Tom Fowler, WRC Chief Engineer. “We haven’t started testing on tarmac as of yet, but we can already tell that the performance levels of the car are really high. We have been able to work without any major issues so far, and that’s very encouraging.”

A strong test driver line-up

Before advanced and refined testing program conducted by the respective drivers can proceed, Tommi Mäkinen, Juho Hanninen and then Jarkko Nikara all had turn in testing the same vehicle individually.

“I just couldn’t resist, so I was the first to size up the car!” admitted Tommi Mäkinen. “The feeling was great and it was fun to drive as well. We are also lucky to be able to call upon the experience of Juho Hanninen and Jarkko Nikara. Other drivers are expected to join the development team very shortly,” he mentioned.

“The first time I drove the Yaris WRC, I was very impressed!” explained Juho Hanninen, the main test driver for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC team. “The handling and balance of the car were perfect; the work done on the design is exceptional. We have wasted no time in racking up the miles because the car has been very reliable from the word go and we’ve not been held up by any major technical issues. In the initial tests outside of Finland, we have tackled a wide variety of conditions and the performance of the Yaris WRC has been very consistent.”

A passionate team!

TOyotaa GAZOO Racing WRC team

Each week, new members join the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC team based in Puuppola, Finland. It’s a genuine melting pot of car lovers, featuring no fewer than seven different nationalities, all focused on achieving the same goal.

“I’m very fond of the family-like atmosphere that we have always had at our Puuppola workshops. I have been pleasantly surprised to see that, that even though our facilities have grown and we are now employing more and more people, this working atmosphere remains largely unchanged. There are no language barriers here. The team is very united and everyone does their best without compromise. I think that is one of the essential ingredients in a successful team and I’m pleased to see everybody has adopted the same approach and is pulling towards the same direction,” commented a delighted Tommi Mäkinen.

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Source:
http://newsroom.toyota.co.jp

The 2017 Citroën WRC makes asphalt debut

July 23, 2016

Three months after its first outing, Citroën Racing’s World Rally Car 2017 has made its asphalt début. On the bumpy roads of Aude in southern France, Kris Meeke and Stéphane Lefebvre learned how the car behaves on the surface.

By opting to hold the first development sessions on gravel, the Citroën Racing engineers had given priority to a surface used in the majority of World Rally Championship events. “By test-driving the car in the toughest conditions first, we were able to check the reliability of all the components,” explained Citroën Racing Technical Director Laurent Fregosi. “What is more, there isn’t just one type of gravel. Finland and Mexico offer completely different surfaces. So we wanted to explore that diversity by testing the car on asphalt, where the operating window is narrower.”

In terms of the regulations, the differences between a WRC’s gravel and asphalt setups are minimal, but they are vital. “The biggest change is in the suspension,” Fregosi continued. “We use lighter parts that allow us to reduce the ground clearance. The drivetrain kinematics are also adapted to the 18″ wheels. Large wheels mean we can increase brake disc diameter and use water-cooled callipers. We should also mention the lighter body protection. On the aerodynamic front, we now have the ability to adapt the lower part of the front bumper specifically for asphalt.”

“During this first session, we worked in particular on the programming of the centre differential,” explained the engineer. “The aim is to distribute power between the front and rear axles according to the situation. Obviously, the settings will be different from one surface to another. The drivers were also able to assess the effects of mechanical parameters, such as spring stiffness, the anti-roll bar and the differential. Overall, the results were positive and we know where we are at. Once again, the car’s reliability allowed us to get plenty of kilometres in.”

“It’s exciting to be driving the WRC on asphalt for the first time,” said Kris Meeke. “Citroën Racing has always made really good cars for this surface and I think this will be no exception! On tarmac, you can really feel the changes introduced as a result of the new regulations, such as the higher power, the increased width, the power of the brakes… We are continuing the programme as planned and each run teaches us a little bit more. Every phase of the project is just as exciting as the last!”

Now with two dedicated chassis for development tests, Citroën Racing will be intensifying its testing programme over the next few weeks. On gravel and asphalt alike, the engineers and drivers are focused on their main objective: Rallye Monte-Carlo on 16 January 2017!

Source:
www.citroenracing.com

The Evolution of the 2017 World Rally Car

July 22, 2016

Assessing its impact on the FIA World Rally Championship

The FIA World Rally Championship is set to move into a fresh and exciting era with the introduction of new technical regulations from 2017. Evolving from the success of the current World Rally Cars, next year’s regulations will deliver more of what the fans want to see and, as such, more distinctive, powerful and dramatic cars will hit the stages of the sport’s premier series.

Citroën C3 WRC

Citroën, Hyundai, M-Sport, Toyota and Volkswagen have all committed to the Championship. The development of their respective World Rally Car machinery continues to be veiled in secrecy as each seeks to gain a technological advantage but, in a series of six features, the FIA, WRC Promoter and manufacturers uncover the potential of the new regulations and explain what they mean for the fans and the Championship as a whole.

FIA President, Jean Todt, Carlos Barbosa, President of the FIA World Rally Championship Commission, and Oliver Ciesla from WRC Promoter are the first to explore the rationale behind the 2017 Technical Regulations and how they will impact the Championship, its promotion and fan base.

Jean Todt, FIA President

What are your feelings about the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship?

Jean Todt:

“The sport is always moving forwards and clearly we want to have the cars more spectacular, we want to create more attraction and more interest for the fans. We are very happy to be able to have new manufacturers involved in the Championship who are joining the existing ones. When I speak about new manufacturers, the arrival of Toyota is very important for the Championship and of course the return of Citroën is another encouragement and they will join manufacturers like Volkswagen, Hyundai and Ford. The contribution of private teams is also essential so we have a lot of new ingredients, together with also rallies happening in different parts of the planet, television, new social media involved in rallying, so it looks very promising for the future.”

Who has been involved in the formulation of the 2017 Technical Regulations?

Jean Todt:

“It has been a very interesting process because everybody has been participating to those rules. Of course the World Rally Commission with its President Carlos Barbosa, and together with all the FIA team, Jarmo Mahonen, Michèle Mouton, the manufacturers, have been all working together and that’s the final result of all those consultations which we will be able to see in 2017.”

Controlling costs must have been an important part of the process?

Jean Todt:

“In any category of motor racing, the cost control is absolutely essential so we have always to be careful when we introduce a new regulation that it is not exceeding the cost, and with all the teams inside the FIA it is something where we will put great attention and continuous monitoring.”

How has safety been integrated into the development of these new regulations?

Jean Todt:

“We always put a priority on safety, even if on rallying it is more difficult because contrary to circuit racing where you work a lot on the design of the circuit you cannot work on the design of the road. So we have been working intensively on the car, and it’s not only linked to the safety of the teams, it’s also linked to the safety of the spectators. We are working very closely, hand in hand, with the organisers of every event and we are making some communication programme to educate the fans when they attend a rally, so we are a lot engaged to make sure that rallying is as safe as we can think.”

What are you most looking forward to about the 2017 WRC season?

Jean Todt:

“Personally I love rallying, I mean I started my career as a rally co-driver so even if sometimes I have some nostalgia about the format of rallying, about the length of the special stage, it’s one natural evolution of the sport. If you want to combine rallying with better coverage on television and through different medias, if you want to make sure that you address safety, if you want to make it more affordable, you need to accept some concessions. But clearly 2017 is really a year with a lot of hopes for the development of rallying, having learnt and understood quite a lot of things over the last decade during the evolution of rallying and motor sport.”

Carlos Barbosa, President, FIA World Rally Championship Commission

What has been the underlying intention of the new Technical Regulations?

Carlos Barbosa:

“We wanted to produce dynamic, exciting and distinctive cars which exude the spirit of motor sport. We want to achieve diversity so the fans can distinguish between the look of the cars, we want them to be excited by the spectacle and sound, we want the cars to set the heart racing and for them to develop into iconic rally machinery in years to come. A lot of our objectives were also based on the feedback we got from the FIA’s fan survey so hopefully the fans will be pleased with what’s to come.”

How is this going to happen?

Carlos Barbosa:

“The visual impact of the cars will be the most striking difference and they should look a lot more aggressive and individual. Greater freedom with the aerodynamics, in particular, will set these cars apart and hopefully make our fans dream about them, as they used to in years gone by.”

Oliver Ciesla, Managing Director, WRC Promoter

Looking ahead to an exciting season to come in 2017, how do you see the new technical regulations will help promote WRC?

Oliver Ciesla:

“We’re extremely confident that these regulations are the way forward. We’ve already seen from testing that the 2017 World Rally Cars will look extremely dynamic. Add this look to additional power and increased performance, and it will create a real ‘wow’ effect, bringing the wide-eyed response we want to generate from the fans and also on television.”

How was WRC Promoter involved in the process and decision making of changing the regulations?

Oliver Ciesla:

“Part of our way of working is that we continuously check we’re going in the right direction with what we do. We listen, of course, to what the teams say but also what our fans think. The trigger was a questionnaire we proposed to WRC fans in 2014 which brought us the feedback that the dramatic look and feel of cars, their sound and the exciting experience of watching them were the most important elements for us to deliver. We sat together with the teams and FIA and discussed the way forward to make cars look more dynamic, to give them increased performance and a more aggressive sound and that led to the decision to go ahead with the new regulations. We listened to our fans and wanted to react.”

It’s a joint effort with the teams, manufacturers and the fans, who are the most important people to a degree, but what about your collaboration with the FIA?

Oliver Ciesla:

“Once the strategy was agreed, it was embraced whole-heartedly by all parties and a lot of positive energy has gone into the development of the new cars from all sides. It was a very constructive process with major contributions from the FIA and especially from the teams. As you can imagine, it’s a big investment for teams to develop these new cars. There has been many hours of work for engineers and a lot of testing, but it’s extremely satisfying to see how enthusiastically the teams have responded.”

Next year Toyota is coming back. Citroën, having taken a sabbatical, is coming back. Longer term, how much do you think the dawn of a new era might attract more manufacturers to WRC in the future?

Oliver Ciesla:

“There’s a hugely positive feeling towards WRC from manufacturers in general. In 2017 we’ll have five of the 10 biggest car manufacturers in the world choosing WRC for their global motorsport activities, and that’s a big compliment to the development of our sport. They recognise the sport is moving forward quickly, and that WRC gives them a great opportunity to showcase the power, strength and qualities of their production-based cars in an environment that gives them global visibility from January to November. Will that attract new entrants? I don’t know, but we’re talking to other car manufacturers and we’ve had a lot of encouraging feedback and genuine enthusiasm from the recent developments.”

WRC is going to China, there’s a lot of appetite for the sport and the momentum is tangible. What about the prospect of other countries wanting to embrace WRC in the future?

Oliver Ciesla:

“The indications we have is that the number of countries and cities that have an interest in hosting a WRC event is growing, and that shows our excitement in the future is shared by potential organisers. We have an opportunity to carry WRC outside of Europe and into new continents and new countries. People acknowledge there is a resurgence in WRC and see the benefits for an event that is broadcast in 150 countries worldwide. From each rally we produce six hours of TV programmes that are seen by more than 60 million people and we have a growing number of cars, competitors and fans. It means big business for a city and a region, with people eating, drinking and sleeping for more than a week and the benefits we bring are being recognised by new countries we might go to in the future.”

How excited are you about the dawn of this new era?

Oliver Ciesla:

“We’re all excited and you can sense that excitement among the teams and in the service park. Everyone is talking about the 2017 World Rally Car and these new regulations could be a way forward to balance the sport at the beginning of a new era. New and returning manufacturers and established teams alike are all building new cars and must start from pretty much the same point. So maybe this will balance the sporting results and make WRC even more exciting.”

Source:
www.fia.com

Q & A: Miikka Anttila

July 21, 2016

“I was only a temporary solution at first.”

For many years, co-driver Miikka Anttila and his compatriot Jari-Matti Latvala have formed one of the strongest duos in the World Rally Championship. This year has not gone entirely to plan so far for the flying Finns, who are pinning their hopes on the second half of the season. They certainly have good cause to be optimistic: in 2015, Latvala and Anttila had again endured a disappointing first half of the season, but then put together a great run of results. Speaking in an interview, Anttila discusses their misfortune this season, his upcoming home race in Finland, and why his cooperation with Latvala was initially only a temporary solution.

Miikka Anttila

The season has not really gone to plan for you so far. You must be pretty disappointed …
Miikka Anttila: Yes, that’s true. People always say there is no such thing as bad luck in motorsport. However, in my opinion, there is no other way of describing what has happened to us in the first few rallies. The drive shaft broke in Sweden – something that had never happened before. Then the power steering broke when we drove over a pothole in Portugal – again, something that we had never experienced in that form before. However, you also have to say that we would have been really quick if these problems had not occurred. As such, the misfortune is obviously very frustrating. However, we can also be happy that the speed is there.

As you say, the speed is there. So, in which areas will you be looking to improve for the second half of the season?
Anttila: The majority of the first half of the season consisted of rallies on coarse and very loose surfaces. We now come to the rallies on more solid surfaces, such as the fast rallies in Finland and Great Britain. I think things will run more smoothly, as these routes tend to suit us better.

Next up is your home rally in Finland. This must be a good opportunity to turn your year around …
Anttila: Yes. Last year, the Rally Finland was the start of a run of good results. However, I don’t want to put myself under any extra pressure now. What will be, will be. In my eyes, however, there is no reason why we shouldn’t do as well as last year.

What makes the Rally Finland so special?
Anttila: It has a very special atmosphere. And it is also the last major event of the summer in Finland. The rally is held on very smooth and hard surfaces. You have to drive very accurately, as the speeds are huge.

In your opinion, what are the perils at the Rally Finland? What must you look out for, and what should you avoid?
Anttila: You should not try to take short cuts at any points that you do not know well. If you cut too much off a corner and, for example, suffer a puncture, you can soon find yourself off the road. The speed you are travelling at means this can have serious consequences. In this case, the impact of a crash is huge.

What is your fondest memory of the rally?
Anttila: The win in 2010 was really outstanding, because it came after a great battle with Sébastien Loeb.

Do you have any less pleasant memories?
Anttila: We have also suffered a few retirements. That obviously hurts twice as much at your home event.

How did you get into rallying?
Anttila: There is a racetrack near my home town, to which I often went with my father. That was the first time I came into contact with motorsport. I went on to study and get a degree in vehicle construction. As such, I always had something to do with cars. When I was about 20, my neighbour started to drive rallies. I was part of his service crew, and subsequently became his co-driver in few rallies. I was actually never that interested in driving myself, but was more interested in the cars themselves and rallying.

How did you take the next step?
Anttila: In 1995, the Finnish Motorsport Federation began coaching rally drivers again. They were also looking for co-drivers. I put my name down and was selected for the coaching. Back then, I never believed I would one day be a professional co-driver.

When did you meet Jari-Matti for the first time?
Anttila: I got to know Jari-Matti through his manager Timo Jouhki, who was also the manager of Mikko Hirvonen back then. I was Mikko’s co-driver in Finland for a season, and also contested a round of the WRC in Italy with him. That was in 2002. The year after, Jari-Matti was racing in the British championship with a British co-driver. They had a pretty horrific crash. Afterwards, Timo asked me if I would stand in as Jari-Matti’s co-driver. It was only meant as a temporary solution at first.

Did you imagine that your partnership would last so long?
Anttila: Back then, I at least knew that there was potential to work together professionally. After that, it was just a case of doing my job as well as possible.

You have known Jari-Matti for many years. Could you describe him in one word?
Anttila: Hmm, that is tricky. However, I would say that he is always very conscientious in everything he does.

Would you describe him as mad about rallies?
Anttila: Yes, that is actually the best way to describe him. He has an incredible passion for this sport.

What was the best moment of your career together so far?
Anttila: I think that this year’s Rally Mexico was our best rally. Everything came together for us, from start to finish. Our starting position obviously played into our hands. However, you still have to take advantage of that position. We did a good job of doing that.

Your job has a lot to do with map-reading and navigating. Was your favourite subject at school geography, by any chance?
Anttila (laughs): No, my favourite subject was actually mathematics. I also liked Finnish.

What do you do when you are not preparing for a rally? Do you do a lot of sport?
Anttila: I try to stay in shape, in order to cope with the physical demands of rallying. I also spend a lot of time with my two children. However, I also try to do some sport in the short breaks. In the summer I go cycling, play golf or get out on my inline skates. In the winter I enjoy skiing and cross-country skiing.

You often take your families with you to rallies. How important is it for you to have them there?
Anttila: It is lovely. They get to travel around and also to know the places I work. That is very nice.

Would you be happy if one of your children was to turn to you and say “Daddy, I want to be a rally driver or co-driver”?
Anttila: I would not have anything against it. However, I would want them to make their own way in the sport.

What job would you have, if you had not become a rally co-driver?
Anttila: I would probably work in the Finnish automobile industry.

Source:
www.volkswagen-motorsport.com

Hyundai Motorsport confirms Dani Sordo will miss Rally Finland

July 15, 2016

Dani Sordo will not compete in Rally Finland in order to recover from an injury picked up in a pre-event test accident.

Hyundai Motorsport test driver Kevin Abbring and his co-driver Seb Marshall will take over the #20 New Generation i20 WRC in Finland.

The team’s pre-event test has been rescheduled for 22-25 July with Thierry Neuville, Hayden Paddon and Abbring all on duty ahead of the rally.

Hyundai Motorsport has today confirmed that Dani Sordo will sit out Rally Finland, the eighth round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), in order to recover fully from an injury sustained in testing last week.

Sordo and co-driver Marc Martí were involved in a high-speed accident during their scheduled pre-event test for Rally Finland last Friday (8 July). Subsequent precautionary checks at the hospital revealed that Sordo had sustained a fissure fracture of a vertebra. The Spaniard was discharged from hospital and has since been recuperating at home in Spain.

Test driver Kevin Abbring and co-driver Seb Marshall will take over the #20 New Generation i20 WRC in Finland, competing in their third event of the season for the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team. Sordo will return to action at Rallye Deutschland next month.

Hyundai Motorsport’s pre-event test for Finland has been rescheduled for 22-25 July, with Thierry Neuville, Hayden Paddon and Abbring all on driving duties.

Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “Dani is recovering well from his injury and is making good progress. However, it is important that he recovers fully so we have made the mutual decision for him to miss Rally Finland. This will allow him to be at his best for Rallye Deutschland in mid-August. Kevin will take over the #20 car for this event and will join our rescheduled PET next week alongside Thierry and Hayden. After a detailed analysis of the car, we have identified the technical problem that led to Dani’s crash. The specific parts are under investigation and we have already taken steps to ensure there will be no repeat of the issue.”

Source:
motorsport.hyundai.com

New Generation i20 R5 set for public debut

June 20, 2016

Milestone for Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department

Ready to show off the result of months of hard work and development for our Customer Racing department

Our New Generation i20 R5 will appear in public for the first time this weekend, running as a course car at the Ypres Rally, the fifth round of this year’s European Rally Championship (ERC).

While the Customer Racing department at Hyundai Motorsport prepares for the crucial weekend, Team Principal Michel Nandan speaks about what he expects at the rally, and where the Belgian event fits into the development programme for the car.

The 2016 Ypres Rally will be the first public showing of the New Generation i20 R5. How significant is this event?

“That this will be the car’s maiden run in public, in front of rally fans and our future customers on the stages is significant in itself, but it is also a special event in the history of Hyundai Motorsport. Our attendance at this event, is separate from our WRC programme, which has been our sole focus for much of the last four years. For the Ypres Rally weekend we focus on the New Generation i20 R5, the first Hyundai Motorsport car built for customers. This is a very important project for the company, not only because it will represent us to customers, but it will also carry the Hyundai brand to a wider audience of motorsport fans. With this new car we will be able to give an even greater profile to the high-performance engineering capabilities of the manufacturer by competing in new championships, new countries and in front of new fans.”

Why was the Ypres Rally chosen for the first public appearance of the car?

“There are several reasons, because the Ypres Rally serves several purposes for the New Generation i20 R5 project. The ERC is a key championship for the R5 category, and the Ypres Rally is one of the biggest weekends of the season. It’s a famous event that always attracts a big entry list, with a lot of international interest, so it’s great place to show the car for the first time. We’ve had a huge amount of interest in the project, but potential customers want to see how the car performs on proper competition stages. The Ypres Rally will be the first time we have run on the same roads as our future competitors, so people will be able to start comparing us against the current ERC field. They will be able to see the results of the work that has already gone into the project, but at the same time the Ypres Rally is just another part of the development of the car.”

How does running at the Ypres Rally fit in with the continuing development of the New Generation i20 R5?

“With our first outing in public the New Generation i20 R5 project is entering the final stages of development. The weekend at Ypres is a pivotal weekend for the Customer Racing department, but we are also taking advantage of an opportunity to continue our testing. The stages in Ypres are unique; very fast, very narrow but still demanding on brakes. Due to the demands of the R5 class it is important that our car is competitive on a wide range of roads and surfaces. This has been one of the key aims of the test programme. The mileage completed at Ypres will add to our knowledge about the car. Following Ypres there are further tests planned, as we want to make the most of the time we have up to our planned homologation date.”

The schedule of the project has been quite tight, has that been a concern during development?

“When we drew up the schedule for the Customer Racing department we knew that it was a tough task. To go from foundation, through testing to the first public appearance in just nine months is very demanding, even more when developing a car for such a competitive category as R5. Sometimes the tight schedule we have set ourselves have meant being flexible in our planning. This has allowed us to make the best use of the time; whether that be adding to the test mileage the car has completed, or developing and preparing the car back at Hyundai Motorsport headquarters in Alzenau.”

Are you satisfied with the amount of testing the New Generation i20 R5 has completed during its development?

“So far we have completed more than 3,000km with the New Generation i20 R5, running on both gravel and tarmac. As a team we are where we planned to be at this stage of the project. In the early tests we were focused on the reliability of the car, before moving on to concentrate on the handling. For that our test driver Kevin Abbring was able to use his experience of the other R5 cars to help”

Source:
motorsport.hyundai.com

Juuso Nordgren is the Future Rally Star of Finland 2016

June 13, 2016

Juuso Nordgren is the Future Rally Star of Finland 2016 after he beat off competition from two other young hopefuls to win a fully-funded drive on his country’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship next month.

Jani Backman & Juuso Nordgren

Rising talent Juuso Nordgren comes out on top following two-day assessment. Jury member Jani Backman predicts big things for the latest Flying Finn.

Nordgren won through following a two-day assessment where his reconnaissance and pacenote-making skills, mental strength, physical fitness and ability to give an interview in English were put to the test under the watchful eye of various industry experts and a five-person jury.

Following deliberation, the jury agreed that Nordgren was the driver most worthy of this dream opportunity.

“It was a big relief when I heard that I had won, because I felt quite a big pressure on me!” said the 19-year-old. “I have been rallying for only two years, so I did not have so much experience but I just tried to my best all the time. Even if I had not won, it would still have been a fantastic experience as we learned so much and had to push ourselves very hard.”

It will be Nordgren’s debut in the WRC and he will be following previous Future Rally Star of Finland winners, including 2014 winner Teemu Suninen, and Jari Huttunen, who triumphed last year.

“This is a really fantastic opportunity for me now and I want to make the most of it,” added Nordgren, who will drive a Citroën DS3 R3T car and be eligible for the JWRC category. “I have actually driven a DS3 on a rally before and I know what a great car it is. So now it is down to me to get the best performance out of myself too.

In readiness for his Future Rally Star of Finland opportunity, Nordgren will get a one-day test in the Citroën he will use on the event. He will also receive additional training from Jukka Korhonen and Matti Rantanen, both of whom have showed plenty of speed in Finland in the past.

Jani Backman, the Neste Rally Finland promoter who has been involved in deciding both previous award winners, said: “In the end, it wasn’t such a difficult decision. Juuso impressed all the judges with his performance in each one of the tests. Of course, there was a very high level, which is always the case with this award. But I think we knew that Juuso was looking strong from quite an early point, so of course we have high hopes for him.”

Juuso Nordgren driver profile:

Date of birth: 19 November 1996
Place of birth: Karkkila
Lives: Karkkila
Career summary: 2015 Finnish Junior Champion
Two-time winner of the R2 class in Finland this year
Usual rally car: Peugeot 208 R2
Rallying hero: Sebastien Loeb – the best at everything. In racing, Ayrton Senna.

Did you know? Markku Alen and nine-time Finnish champion Juha Salo also come from Karkkila.

Future Rally Star of Finland 2016 jury:

Jani Backman, Neste Rally Finland promoter
Jouni Ampuja, rally coach
Sebastian Lindholm, former factory rally driver, tyre-testing expert
Jarno Riski, professional sports coach
Erik Veiby, driver management specialist

Previous winners of Future Rally Star of Finland award:

2015: Jari Huttunen
2014: Teemu Suninen

Source:
www.nesterallyfinland.fi

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