- World champions and current WRC leaders Ogier/Ingrassia top the entry list
- Finns set to fly in Lapland as 21 home-grown talents register
- Strong interest in WRC2 and WRC3 with a combined 32 entries
- Extreme E contenders Ekström and Kristoffersson provide added intrigue
A star-studded line-up featuring some of the world’s best rally drivers will assemble for the inaugural Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox later this month.
Round two of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship, based in Rovaniemi from February 26-28, boasts 13 entries in the headlining World Rally Car category, plus a further 32 between the supporting WRC2 and WRC3 divisions. Of that number, 10 crews are entered in WRC2, the highest since the WRC’s principal support championship was split into two tiers ahead of the 2019 season.
Home representation is also strong with 21 Finnish crews signing up to contest the exciting winter spectacular located close to the Arctic Circle in Finland’s northernmost Lapland region.
To further underline the Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox’s appeal, 24 nations are represented across the 56-car entry. All drivers and team personnel will follow strict COVID-19 protocol before, during and after the event in accordance with rules set out by the Finnish government and the FIA, motorsport’s world governing body.
Riku Bitter, Chairman and CEO of AKK Sports, the Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox organiser, said: “We are humbled by the enthusiastic response from so many teams and drivers, particularly given the constraints caused by the global pandemic and the limited time there has been since the event was announced and the entry period closing. Following on from the recent issuing of the route, the publication of the draft entry list is another important milestone in the short history of Finland’s first winter FIA World Rally Championship event, and further reason for our team of hardworking volunteers to be rightly proud and satisfied.”
Ogier heads the order for Toyota
Seven-time world champion and championship leader following his Rallye Monte-Carlo triumph last month, Sébastien Ogier heads the Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox entry list in the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT-run Yaris WRC he shares with co-driver and fellow Frenchman Julien Ingrassia. Ogier is part of a four-strong Toyota attack, which is overseen by Jari-Matti Latvala and completed by Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin, Takamoto Katsuta/Daniel Barritt and Flying Finns Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen.
Breen joins Hyundai’s tweaked victory push
As well as counting on Thierry Neuvile/Martijn Wydaeghe and Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja in its pursuit of a first WRC victory of 2021, the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team has added Craig Breen/Paul Nagle to its attack on Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox. Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais and Oliver Solberg/Aaron Johnston form the Hyundai 2C Competition Manufacturer Team line-up, with 19-year-old Solberg and Johnston preparing to sample a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC for the first time, their debut at world rallying’s top level.
Suninen aiming to fly for M-Sport
After their hopes of Rallye Monte-Carlo success ended with an opening-stage crash, Finns Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula will be aiming to fly for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team on Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox. Gus Greensmith/Elliott Edmondson are entered in a second Ford Fiesta WRC, while Lorenzo Bertelli is set to start his first world championship event since Copec Rally Chile in May 2019 in a third Fiesta.Simone Scattolin co-drives his fellow Italian, while Finns Janne Tuohino/Reeta Hämäläinen are also Fiesta WRC-powered for the privateer Janpro squad.
Mikkelsen leads the supporting cast
Following his dominant class victory on Rallye Monte-Carlo, Andreas Mikkelsen tops the WRC2 order in the Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo he shares with co-driver Ola Fløene. Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul, Marco Bulacia/Marcelo Ohannesian, Ole Christian Veiby/Jonas Andersson, Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Alexandrov are among the Norwegian pairing’s nine rivals on Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox. WRC3 has attracted 22 entries with a number of international squads among them.
WRC3 champion Huttunen returns
Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox marks Jari Huttunen’s first world championship start since he won the WRC3 title on ACI Rally Monza last December. He teams up with Mikko Lukka in a Hyundai Motorsport N-entered i20 R5. Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferme switch to WRC2 having competed in a Ford Fiesta WRC last season, while Finnish championship leader Teemu Asunmaa and last year’s runner-up, Emil Lindholm, are also expected to challenge for glory in Rovaniemi.
Flying Finn Future Star Joona ready for action
Lauri Joona, who can look forward to an FIA Junior WRC campaign later this season as his prize for winning the Flying Finn Future Star initiative, is expected to battle his predecessor, Sami Pajari, for RC4 category honours with both young hopefuls competing in Rally4-specification Ford Fiestas.
World Rallycross stars up for Arctic adventure
Swedes Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekström, who have a combined four FIA World Rallycross Championship titles between them, are taking a break from their preparations for the inaugural Extreme E season by contesting Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox. Both have strong rallying pedigree to count on.
ARCTIC RALLY FINLAND POWERED BY CAPITALBOX ENTRY LIST IN NUMBERS
13: A total of 13 World Rally Cars are entered
10: The WRC2 category has attracted 10 registrations
22: Twenty-two crews will challenge for WRC3 success
24: Among the 56-strong entry, 24 countries are represented
21: Škoda is the most dominant brand with 21 Fabias set to take part
Linda Hirvonen, National Press Officer, +358 (0) 45 3299696, email@example.com