Rally Finland: Skoda preview

The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team will enter three cars for Rally Finland (August 4-7) with A. Schwarz - K. Wicha and J. Paasonen - J. Vainikka nominated for points on the tenth round of the 2005 World Rally Championship. A third Skoda Fabia ...

Rally Finland: Skoda preview

The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team will enter three cars for Rally Finland (August 4-7) with A. Schwarz - K. Wicha and J. Paasonen - J. Vainikka nominated for points on the tenth round of the 2005 World Rally Championship.

A third Skoda Fabia WRC 05 will be entered on the event for Janne Tuohino - Mikko Markkula.

Rally Finland is the fastest event in the entire WRC and last year's winning average speed was 122.62kph. For 2005 some stage routes have had to be modified as last year the winning speed was getting close to, and on the Ouninpohja stage, exceeding the permitted 130kph average.

The event comes at the end of an intense period of testing for the Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team. Apart from private test sessions the team has also won the Bohemia Rally in the Czech Republic (with Jan Kopecky) and the Eifel-Rallye in Germany (with Alex Bengue) while Jani Paasonen's final preparations for Rally Finland included contesting the Tampere Rally.

Armin said: "This is a real drivers' rally and it takes place in forests full of enthusiastic spectators. It is very difficult for visiting drivers because only after three days do you start to understand the challenges. You have to be full of confidence to do really well.

Jani said: "Last year was my first drive for Skoda Motorsport but I enjoyed it very much and finished sixth. I hope that I can do at least as well as that this year. It's my home event so I always look forward to it and want to get the best result possible."

Janne said: "We had a really good test in Finland a few weeks ago that was probably the best test I have ever had with the Fabia WRC. I am fully confident and really want to get started!"

Martin Muehlmeier, Head of the Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team said: "This is a very important rally for the team and we need a good result. We saw last year with Jani what the car is capable of achieving, even on such a technical rally as this, so I hope we can at least equal that performance."

Rally Finland in detail:

Rally Finland is unique among the current WRC events in being the only rally that has never ventured away from the same start/finish. Jyvaskyla in Central Finland has been its home throughout the event's history and for this year's 55th anniversary the format remains the same.

Action begins on Thursday night with a superspecial at the Killeri trotting track just outside the town. Friday's stages are located mainly to the north of Jyvaskyla although the route does head south for the 33.93kms Mokkipera stage, used twice during the day, before a return to Killeri to end the 144.27kms opening leg.

Saturday's leg is run to the south and west of Rally HQ and will probably be the toughest and most spectacular day of the event. The awesome Ouninpohja stage features in this second leg although because of high average speeds the stage has had to be cut into two sections. The leg also features the longest stage of the rally, the 40.96kms Moksi-Leustu stage in a total stage distance of 144.76kms.

Sunday's final leg features two stages, each run twice and totalling 66.56kms, to the west of Jyvaskyla before the finish ramp ceremony at 1450.

-skoda-

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