Reigning Finnish Rally Champion Jussi Välimäki and his co-driver Jarkko Kalliolepo gained splendid podium finish in PWRC Finland as STC-Meat rally team drivers fought silver position on Gravel Grand Prix.
The victory was lost on huge jump which caused Välimäki to broke his ribs. Also technical problems and lack of testing lowered teams’ performance. – Considering the preparations we had for the rally the result is what we expected it to be. Before WRC Finland we were able to test our rental group-N Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX rally car for only 12 special stage kilometres due technical problems. Therefore we had to continue our test and setup work for the first four stages. On those stages we lost hellowa amount of time for our fellow competitors, Välimäki reported. – On fifth stage I started to attack for top positions. However in approx 6kms of the stage there was a very surprise and high speed jump which caused us to be literally Flying Finns. We had a huge jump and landed very hard. The hit broke my ribs and immediately the rally was turned into a survival for finish. On two final special stages of the first day I also suffered major technical difficulties which were about to cause a retirement for us. Fortunately we made to the service, Välimäki continued.
In pains for the finish and into eight PWRC Championship points For the very high speed and highly demanding special stages Välimäki drove the best he ever could from his pains. On Sunday the attack was ended on malfunction of tyre jack and Jussi couldn’t chance the damaged wheel. For the final stages STC-Meat rally team drivers adjusted their speed so that they could finish the event.
Välimäki was very satisfied for second position and for the eight PWRC Championship points. – After suffering an impact which broke my ribs I was forced to reduce my speed for all jumps. Those brakings were immediately seen on the special stage times. However this result is better than long sick leave, Välimäki thought. – When we started the final day on third position I decided to attack for second position.. Attack on legendary Lankamaa special stage was successful for first 15 kilometres. For the final 10 kilometres we rallied with broken tyre. After the stage I tried to change the damaged tyre but the tyre jack was broken and we couldn’t do a thing. Therefore we were forced to ease the attack for the final two stages. Fortunately the Pirelli tyre lasted to finish and we didn’t lose any positions, Välimäki continued.
Flodin disqualified – Flying Finns took PWRC top-3 At the end of WRC Finland Jussi Välimäki and his co-driver Jarkko Kalliolepo poured shampagne on third position in PWRC. Later on Sunday evening the jury of the rally made a statement that the turbo of Patrik Flodins’ Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX rally car didn’t fulfilled the regulations and therefore Flodin was disqualified from the rally. Juho Hänninen won the event, Välimäki was upgraded into second position and Jari Ketomaa into third position. Eventually Flying Finns took all podium positions.
” Our goals were set on victory but considering all what has happened during the weekend I’m very satisfied for the second positon. Ofcourse the gap for winner Juho Hänninen was a bit too big but on the other hand no-one remembers that after few weeks – position is what you’ll be remembered. Silver position gives us lots of confidence and boost for planning the forthcoming season. It seems like my speed is excellent for PWRC” , Välimäki continued.
Next rally for Välimäki is pneultimate round for the Finnish Rally Championship series which is to be rallied in final weekend of August at the region of Uusikaupunki. The stakes in Finnish Rally Championship are getting higher. Välimäki heads for the events as Championship leader with his group-A Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII rally car.
“On the previous two Finnish Rally Championship gravel events we haven’t been able to match the speed for WRC and top group-N rally cars. I had started to think the reason is me but the result we gained here in WRC Finland tells otherwise. To accomplish the second Finnish Rally Championship title we must make more work to improve the speed of our a bit oldie rally car, Välimäki analyzed.
Final results, PWRC Finland, top-3:
1. Juho Hänninen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, 3:08:38.1
2. Jussi Välimäki & Jarkko Kalliolepo, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, +3:13.4sec
3. Jari Ketomaa & Miika Teiskonen, Subaru Impreza WRX Sti 2008, +5:15.5sec