World Rally Championship 2021 – Arctic Rally Finland
From the chilly hills of Monte-Carlo to the wintery scenes of Finland, the WRC ventured out into the cold wilderness in the second event of the WRC 2021 championship.
On the opening day, Ott Tanak put in a superb performance to dominate the first day, as the Estonian finished 16.2 seconds above the rest. The second day saw Elfyn Evans, Kalle Rovanpera and Thierry Neuville toppling the leading Hyundai from the top spot. However, Tanak returned to the top spot as he secured the final two stages to secure the inaugural Arctic Rally Finland win.
Day 1 – Friday
In the first double stage of the event, Ott Tanak led the opening stage of the Arctic Rally Finland, as Hyundai teammate, Craig Breen finished second, 3.6 seconds behind the Estonian.
While Toyota’s Rallye Monte-Carlo winner, Sebastien Ogier finished the opening stage in ninth, 22.7 seconds off the pace of Tanak. As night fell on the return trip, Tanak put in a blistering pace to finish first in the timing board nearly 10 seconds faster than Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera. While Ogier brought up the rear of the WRC group, 27.1 seconds behind Tanak.
Like driving blindfolded 🤯 #OnboardOfTheRally
— WRC – FIA World Rally Championship (@OfficialWRC) March 1, 2021
Day 2 – Saturday
Three, tree-lined, stages were in the spotlight on Saturday, east of the service park, Rovaniemi; Mustalampi, Kaihuavaara and Siikakama. Each one conducted in a double loop throughout the day.
Similar to the day before, Tanak led the opening stage of the day. However, Thierry Neuville was close on the Estonian’s heels as he finished a second behind the leader.
Evans, Toyota, finally managed to topple Tanak off the top spot in the fourth stage with a time of 9:06.6 – 6.1 seconds faster than the Hyundai rally driver. However, Tanak still had a considerable lead over the pack as he stood 21.2 seconds above the field in the overall standings.
Despite Evans’ attempt to challenge the leading Hyundai, normal business resumed as Tanak finished the first round of the three stages by 0.1 seconds ahead of the British Toyota driver.
The final two stages of the day, Kaihuavaara 2 (7) and Siikakama 2 (8), saw Tanak’s stage win snatched away from him. Rovanpera secured his first Finland stage victory of the season, during the Kaihuavaara 2 stage, as he pipped the Estonian in the leaderboards by 1.7 seconds.
Neuville put in a blistering pace on the final stage of the day, on Siikakama 2, as he secured his first Arctic Rally Finland stage win, 12.3 seconds ahead of the leading Hyundai.
Despite this, Tanak still had a considerable lead over Rovanpera as the Estonian finished the day 24.1 seconds ahead of the Finnish driver in the overall standings.
Day 3 – Sunday
A single stage lined-up the final day of the inaugural Arctic Rally Finland as the Aittajärvi stage completed the rallying event – with the final run as the Wolf Power Stage.
However, business returned to normal as Tanak topped both stages in the final day as he beat Rovanpera by 19.2 during the ninth stage. Followed in a similar fashion, on the 10th stage, he pipped Rovanpera in the Wolf Power Stage.
Despite the WRC drivers best attempts, Tanak secured victory in the Arctic Rally Finland as the Estonian led from start to finish.
1. Ott Tanak (2:03:49.6)
2. Kalle Rovanpera (+17.5s)
3. Thierry Neuville (+19.8s)
We hope you enjoyed World Rally Championship 2021 – Arctic Rally Finland! What do you think about Ott Tanak’s wintery performance? Let us know in the comments!
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