Craig Breen reckons he has “all the ingredients in place” to win Secto Automotive Rally Finland – but a hat-trick-chasing team-mate will be one of the drivers standing in his way.
Ott Tänak came out on top during the FIA World Rally Championship’s last two visits to Jyväskylä in 2018 and 2019 and will be one of the contenders for victory when the WRC returns for Rally Finland’s 70th anniversary from October 1-3.
But the Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT team-mates both have strong records on high-speed gravel events, making their battle for supremacy on Finland’s fast-paced gravel stages a hugely exciting prospect.
“As a crew we tend to go well on events with this kind of profile, and this could be another strong event for us given our current form,” said Breen, who was second on the WRC rounds in Estonia and Belgium during the summer and scored his maiden WRC podium in Finland in 2016. “I’m still searching for my first win – it feels like it has been eluding us now for some time, but we are getting closer and Finland will present one of the better opportunities this year, so we will do everything in our power to make it happen. All the ingredients are there.”
Tänak relied on Toyota power for his Rally Finland wins but has since joined the works Hyundai squad and won Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox in February driving a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.
“The roads are normally both fun and challenging at the same time, and as it is so fast with small gaps we should have a great competition,” said Estonian Tänak. “Let’s see if we can take a third Rally Finland victory – we know our competitors and it will be tough, but we have worked very hard in the last two years so now is our chance to show we can fight in fast rallies.”
He continued: “The characteristics of this rally will be very different. There is a big part of the route that we haven’t seen previously, so we will need to put a lot of effort into our recce to ensure our pace notes are completely accurate. The weather could also change quite a bit, so this will keep us on our toes. As the last full gravel rally with this generation of WRC cars – in my opinion, they are probably the best ever – I will definitely enjoy this event.”
Picture: Hyundai Motorsport