Hirvonen & Lehtinen win Rally Finnskog in Citroën DS3 WRC
Perfect “warm-up” event to Rally Sweden 2012
Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen overcame a variety of extreme conditions – snow, ice and temperatures of around -30°C – combined with the handicap of being first out on the road to win the 2012 Rally Finnskog. The Finnish crew finished 30.5s ahead of their nearest rival. The event proved to be the perfect “warm-up” for the DS3 WRC ahead of the second round of the World Rally Championship this week.
Competitors were greeted with arctic conditions for the one-day rally, which featured 117 kilometres of special stages through forests, in the Norwegian region of Svullrya. There were four timed stages in total, each to be completed twice, interspersed with three 30-minute service periods. The Citroën DS3 WRC began the first loop in the best possible fashion, setting the fastest time on all four stages, despite being first out on the road.
“Our feeling with the car improved the further we went. Going first meant we had to clear the fine layer of snow covering the frozen ice,” explained Mikko. “We thought that the conditions would be better on the second runs, but they actually turned out to be more difficult due to the other competitors having completed their runs.”
The Nordic crew held onto the lead in the second loop to claim top spot on the podium.
“We are very happy to have won, and especially to have beaten the other WRCs competing here. This has confirmed that we found the right set-up in testing. The conditions were similar to those we will have at Rally Sweden, so we’re confident. We have a very positive feeling. The DS3 WRC is genuinely quick in the most extreme conditions,” concluded the Finnish driver.