Mikko is the Fastest Finn in [Qualifying] Neste Oil Rally Finland - 2013

Rally Finland officially got into action today, with a couple of free practice sessions and finally finished all hair-raising action at the Qualifying Stage. It was Latvala & then Ogier who were fastest in the first two tests, but it is the Qualifying Stage timing that counts.

Local WRC hero, Citroen's No.1 driver, the birthday boy, Mikko Hirvonen - was the fastest with a time of 2m15.516s and is expected choose to start last of the WRC cars tomorrow.

Sebastien Ogier was the second fastest with a tiny lag of +0.248s, while Thierry Neuville was short of +0.437s behind the leader. Novikov +0.500s, Latvala +0.742s, Mikkelsen +0.974s, Ostberg +1.361s, Hänninen +1.417s, Meeke +1.835s, Sordo +1.906, Nikara +2.673s, Andersson +3.294s, and Prokop with +4.723s finished the WRC class order.

Apart from the top level competition, we get to see the new M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 cars, with Elfyn Evans and Jari Ketoma taking on the challenge, with Robert Kubica to defend against this new breed of car and the most awaited of the return of the former World Rally Champ, Tommi Makinen doing the short SS Killeri. Pontus Tidemand the leader in JWRC class and will be the one to watch in the Junior WRC.

With the good choice of starting position, will Mikko be able to hold on to the advantage to a victory that has been evading him so long? Only time will tell !

The first car takes on the opening stage Himos 1 of the rally tomorrow at 12:15hrs, local time. Until then stay hooked for more updates.
Read more ...

Finally After a BIG Long Break - Top Level Rallying Resumes at Finland

WRC had hibernated to a mid-season break, so did we. After a gap of little more than a month at the top level action, WRC returns at the Jyväskylä, Finland. Neste Oil Rally Finland or best known abbreviated as NORF is the best of the gravel rallies and unarguably the most celebrated. Highly enthusiastic crowd, super-charged competitors,  teamed-up manufacturers/constructors, and not to forget the organisers; is the right combo to make this event not just celebrated one, but more like a seriously 'religious place of rallying'.

A couple of events passed through the break period [both at the ERC round of Sibiu Rally - Romania, and even back in Indian National Rally Championship, at Rally of Coimbatore], the top level rallying brings in the much charm that charts no boundary.

Although the much anticipated mid-season break gave most of the teams and their athletes, a minor slack here and there were expected. This time it was the championship leader Sebastien Ogier's co-driver, Julien Ingrassia broke his collar-bone after a fall during a mountain bike outing. Luckily, he got treated in time and the surgery paid back with a good recovery and he cleared a medical fitness check and will be there for the rally. His time-off of the testing was made-up with replacement co-driver Nicolas Klinger for Ogier, of VW's home rally, ADAC Rally Deutschland, which will be the next rally to happen.

Tommi Makinen will be back this weekend at NORF! Yes, that's right ! He had hinted this, a couple of week back and officially broke the news recently. We get to see the former champ blasting through the Killeri SS on Thursday, in beloved Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3 Group-A car. It is the same car which brought his first World Rally Championship Driver's title. It is going to be a single stage he would be driving, as we can expect it to be a collectible rally car; it is a shame that we might not get to see him in any of the existing lineup of cars.

Kris Meeke is back in a WRC [Citroen DS3 WRC] car after nearly two years and for the second time at Rally Finland, and for first time here in a WRC car; time filling up for Abu Dhabi's Khalid Al-Qassimi absence. He will be joining Mikko Hirvonen and Dani Sordo, for Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT.

Everybody were busy testing before the event, so was JM Latvala. Watch him drive in this video.

Sit tight and enjoy the rally...
Read more ...

All-time Top 5 +NEWS