Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt stormed to a sensational second place at this weekend’s Neste Rally Finland – securing the Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC’s twelfth podium of the year.
Proving competitive on any surface, the Fiesta set six fastest stage times including a 1-2-3 through the second pass of Päijälä (SS21) and a 1-2-3-4 though the second pass of Pihlajakoski (SS20).
“We’re really chuffed to come away from Rally Finland with second place – especially as that wasn’t looking likely on Friday evening. We kept at it, kept pushing and managed to claw our way back up the leader board. It’s a really positive way to finish the weekend.
“Friday was a very difficult day for us. We started without a test and were really struggling with the balance of the car throughout that opening day. We made some changes which helped quite a lot and the longer stages and drier conditions helped too. We started making our way up the order and it all went from there.
“Going into this morning, it was a very difficult situation to be in. There was an element of wanting to push for the best result, but at the same time it was really important to secure good points for the team. It wasn’t an all-out attack, but it all worked out in the end.
“It’s not the win, but it’s still a strong weekend and we can be pleased with the job we have done this weekend.”
Evans’ result – as well as that of early leader Ott Tänak – has strengthened the team’s position at the head of the manufacturer standings and, despite having to withdraw from the rally, Sébastien Ogier has maintained the joint lead of the drivers’ championship.
Elsewhere in the team, local hero Teemu Suninen had been locked in an intense battle for the podium positions through the closing stages, it was looking good before a high-speed spin on the penultimate stage (SS24) which saw Suninen but fall to fourth. The mistake may have cost the 23-year-old the chance of fighting for the podium, but he will take encouragement from his impressive speed.
Claiming three stage victories behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta WRC, Suninen had been on pace all weekend and made the transition from R5 to WRC with ease.
Suninen has long been considered one of rallying’s brightest future talents. After his performances this month, he has firmly established himself as a talent of the present.