Team GRX’s Emil Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen opened the Finnish Rally Championship season by finishing third in Arctic Lapland Rally, the opening event of the series. The duo, driving team TGS Worldwide’s Škoda Fabia R5 Evo, were 34 seconds behind Škoda’s Teemu Asunmaa, who won the rally.
The Arctic Lapland Rally, driven in the challenging winter conditions in the Arctic Circle, brought Emil Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen a third place finish - just like a year before. Lindholm, who started from the second place on the final day of the rally, lost one spot in a tight seconds battle against Škoda´s Juha Salo. Škoda’s Teemu Asunmaa won the rally.
The place on the podium was the goal that the duo had set out to pursue from the competition.
“On Saturday's first special stage we drove on the same pace with other drivers. The other three special stages in the afternoon were quite snowy and on these stages we should have gotten better and faster results”, Lindholm says.
“This was a great rally for MRF. The Arctic Lapland Rally was the second winter rally for them, and when it comes to being one of the most traditional winter rallies in the world, a place on the podium is a tremendous achievement”, Lindholm reminds.
The highlight of the weekend was the fastest time reached in the Jyrhämäjärvi special stage (33.38 km), which closed the Friday’s opening day of the rally. The top time was the first for the Indian tyre company MRF Tyres in Finland.
“Our tyres worked excellently in the severe cold weather, snow and ice. The conditions on the route varied a lot. Sometimes there was more snow on the road, sometimes just hard ice surface. Trust for the new tyre was found quickly. This is a good place to continue our season”, Lindholm says.
The winter season includes another Finnish Rally Championship event on snow, after which the series will continue with four gravel rallies later in the spring.
“The Finnish Rally Championship is a tough series. Last year we saw that the third place in the Arctic Lapland Rally means that we have to do well during the rest of the season. Third place gives us a chance to fight for the championship but in order to win it all, we have to succeed perfectly for the rest of the season”, Lindholm recalls.
FRC Arctic Lapland Rally, SM1-class, Rovaniemi, Finland:
1. Teemu Asunmaa – Marko Salminen Škoda Fabia R5 Evo 1:45:56,6
2. Juha Salo – Mikko Markkula Škoda Fabia R5 Evo + 22,0
3. Emil Lindholm – Mikael Korhonen Škoda Fabia R5 Evo + 34,0
4. Juuso Metsälä - Matti Kangas Škoda Fabia R5 + 3:49,0
5. Riku Tahko – Markus Soininen Hyundai i20 R5 + 5:19,1