M-Sport will be looking to prove their pace in the Ford Fiesta RS WRC as they head to the next round of the 2016 World Rally Championship in Rally Finland.Last time out, it proved to be very difficult for Mads Østberg in Poland as the Norwegian finished in eighth place. But with nineteen appearances at this rally alone, Østberg will be looking to co-driver Ola Floene to use nearly 20 years of Rally Finland experience to their advantage.
Meanwhile, Éric Camilli and Benjamin Veillas only boast one Rally Finland appearance between each other. Last year, they gained vital experience of the rally despite making a mistake on the third speed test, which cut short their hopes of having a decent result. They’ll be looking to use their knowledge of last year to good effect in their first WRC appearance in Finland.
Britain’s Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry return to action in Finland this weekend. The WRC2 Championship leader will have a tough fight on the yumps that Finland possesses on the stages that teams and crews have to face this weekend.
Østberg was focused on making a comeback after a disappointing result in Poland. “It’s time for a comeback and we’re fully focused on Rally Finland. We’ve all been working really hard in the lead-up to this event, and myself and Ola have spent a lot of time preparing. We’re determined to return to the stage-winning pace we showed in Sardinia.
“Eighth place in Poland was not what we came for, but I was ninth there last year and ended up on the podium in Finland. We need to keep that in mind and focus on being as competitive as we can from the very first stage.”
Camilli could not wait to discover Rally Finland in a WRC car for the first time, saying “Rally Finland is a very special event, and I can’t wait to discover these stages for the first time in a world rally car. We have some knowledge of the rally from last year, but this year will be a completely new challenge. The speed of the world rally cars on these roads is incredible. We really enjoyed our test and did a lot of work with our engineer which should see us well-placed for the rally.”
Evans added “The WRC 2 field is extremely strong at the moment and it will be a challenge to beat the Scandinavians on their home turf. This is probably one of the most competitive events of the year, but we’re ready to give it our all. We’re feeling well prepared and ready to challenge for the win, but we know it won’t be easy.
“Speed and precision is what we’ll need. The stages are so fast that any time loss is hard to recover. You need to have precise notes and the confidence to drive to the maximum. We’ve shown some pretty good speed here in the past so, if we can couple that with a clean run, anything is possible.”