Neste Rally Finland: ŠKODA works driver Kalle Rovanperä aims for home victory in WRC 2 Pro

Neste Rally Finland: ŠKODA works driver Kalle Rovanperä aims for home victory in WRC 2 Pro

› Driving a ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo, Finnish rising star Kalle Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne

Halttunen chase fourth season win in a row in WRC 2 Pro category

› Last year’s WRC 2 winners Eerik Pietarinen/Juhana Raitanen are nominated to score

points in the WRC 2 Pro category by ŠKODA Motorsport

› The target of ŠKODA Motorsport in Finland: Taking outright lead in the WRC 2 Pro

manufacturer’s classification of the FIA World Rally Championship 2019

Mladá Boleslav, 30 July 2019 – After powering the new ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo to two WRC 2

Pro category wins in a row – plus winning Rally Chile with the predecessor model –, Kalle

Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen (FIN/FIN) can hardly wait to start Neste Rally

Finland (01-04/08/2019). Understandably, his home game in front of ten thousands of

compatriots is something very special for 18 years old Rovanperä. Last year, he was clearly

the fastest driver of the field of R5 competitors, but a technical mishap eventually relegated

him to fourth place. Instead, ŠKODA privateers Eerik Pietarinen/Juhana Raitanen were the

WRC 2 winners. Now they are aiming for a top result again, for the second time nominated to

score points in the WRC 2 Pro category by ŠKODA Motorsport.

During his first Neste Rally Finland back in 2018, Kalle Rovanperä was 16 times the fastest WRC 2

driver on the 23 special stages. But a suspension issue did cost him a possible win. This year, the

current leader of the championship’s WRC 2 Pro category wants to settle the bill with his home

event. “I love to drive this fast and smooth gravel stages in my home country. We had good tests

before the rally and the setup of our ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo works very well. I feel confident with the

car, and that is very important on these fantastic stages,” emphasizes Rovanperä.

ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek said: “We know, that Kalle and Eerik are really fast. Now

they have to be as well cool and smart in front of their home crowd in Finland. I hope, they will

provide ŠKODA Motorsport with the points we need to take the outright lead in the manufacturer’s

standings of the WRC 2 Pro championship.”

In the WRC 2 category for private teams, French ŠKODA crew Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais

lately showed a remarkable performance on gravel by winning the class in Portugal and

Italy/Sardinia. With a good result from Finland, they even could move into the overall lead of the

WRC 2 championship.

First rally of a customer team with the new ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo

Two weeks before Neste Rally Finland, Eerik Pietarinen’s team boss Toni Gardemeister in Mladá

Boleslav picked up the very first ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo delivered to a customer. In Finland

Pietarinen will drive the car for the first time. “I have good memories of my victory last year, and I

cannot wait to drive the new FABIA,” is the young Finn looking forward to the upcoming ninth round

of the FIA World Rally Championship 2019.

Legendary challenge with numerous jumps on gravel

Neste Rally Finland offers 23 special stages totalling more than 307 kilometres mostly on fast and

smooth gravel roads. A unique feature are the countless jumps – some passages really resemble a

roller coaster. Due to the high-speed passages, the Finnish round of the FIA World Rally

Championship 2019 unofficially carries the subtitle “Finnish Gravel Grand Prix”. After kicking off on

Thursday evening with a Super Special Stage “Harju” in the streets of Jyväskylä close to the

service park, the Friday leg will run over ten special stages of around 126 kilometres. The longest

day of the rally will be the Saturday with eight special stages totalling nearly 133 kilometres. Like

last year, Sunday will bring the final decision with four stages. The winners will reach the podium in

Jyväskylä around 16h00 local time.

Did you know, that...

...the event first took place in 1951 under the name “Jyväskilän Suurajot”?

…the event was called the “Rally of the Thousand Lakes” from 1959 to 1996, before it was renamed

Rally Finland, today additionally carrying the name of sponsor Neste?

…in 1973 the “Rally of the Thousand Lakes” was included into the calendar of the then new World

Rally Championship?

…the biggest jump ever allegedly was achieved in 1975 by former rally cross driver Jusso

Kynsilehto, who with legendary British motoring journalist Martin Holmes on the co-driver’s seat

flew 72 metres? Unfortunately, there was no road on the car’s landing point and they rolled four

times.

…the rally ending Power Stage, the eleven kilometres of “Ruuhimäki”, according to the event

organizers, will have a real flying finish with a so called “monster jump”?

…Finnish drivers won 55 out of the so far 68 editions of their home round?

The calendar of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2 Pro)

Event Date

Monte-Carlo 24/01/–27/01/2019

Sweden 14/02/–17/02/2019

Mexico 07/03/–10/03/2019

France 28/03/–31/03/2019

Argentina 25/04/–28/04/2019

Chile 09/05/–12/05/2019

Portugal 30/05/–02/06/2019

Italy 13/06/–16/06/2019

Finland 01/08/–04/08/2019

Germany 22/08/–25/08/2019

Turkey 12/09/–15/09/2019

Great Britain 03/10/–06/10/2019

Spain 24/10/–27/10/2019

Australia 14/11/–17/11/2019

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