2017 WRC - Finland - High-flying success for the MICHELIN LTX Force and MICHELIN Latitude Cross tires at Rally Finland
The 2017 Rally Finland, round nine of the FIA World Rally Championship, produced its usual three days of spectacular action which attracted thousands of fans to its high-speed stages and to the service park in Jyväskylä.
The event featured a total distance of 1,422.34km, including 315.63km divided into 25 stages, some of which had been carried over from last year, while others hadn’t been visited for some time or were run in the opposite direction. The program incorporated two attempts at the infamous ‘Ouninpohja’ stage which boasts one of the most spectacular jumps of the WRC.
Like Rally Poland earlier this month, Rally Finland’s dirt stages are covered in a sandy top-coating but they tend to have a harder-packed base. Meanwhile, not only are they wide and fast but the terrain is gently undulating, which explains why there are so many high-speed, potentially tricky jumps. The championship leader Sébastien Ogier found out how awkward they can be to his cost on SS3 when a wheel broke on a particularly heavy landing, ultimately leading to an ‘off’. On top of that, Rally Finland accounts for nine of the 10 fastest events in WRC history!
For this year’s event, Michelin Motorsport’s WRC partners were able to choose between the soft-compound MICHELIN LTX Force S5 tire and the harder H4, while its WRC2 runners could similarly opt for either the MICHELIN Latitude Cross S80 (soft) or H90 tire. Over the past six years, Michelin drivers have gone for the softer option 95% of the time, but this year they all selected the MICHELIN LTX Force S5 tire from start to finish.
“This way this weekend’s Rally Finland unfolded is further confirmation of the view we have held since the MICHELIN LTX Force S5’s tire launch in Mexico,” notes Jacques Morelli, the manager of Michelin’s World Rally Championship programme. “The combination of its outstanding versatility and longer-lasting high performance means the drivers are able to push from start to finish irrespective of whether the conditions are dry, damp or wet. I am naturally disappointed for Jari-Matti Latvala who looked strong before his technical hitch, but I would like to congratulate Esapekka Lappi on winning his first WRC round at only his fourth attempt in a World Rally Car. He was fast and consistent and stood up to the pressure all the way to the finish. I would also like to congratulate Jari Huttunen on his excellent WRC2 win. Thanks to the backing of Marcus Grönholm and support from Michelin, it was his maiden appearance in this class and he produced an assertive performance to take first place.”
The 2017 Rally Finland was won by Esapekka Lappi/Jane Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC), while their compatriots and team-mates Juho Hänninen/Kaj Linström followed in third place. Both cars were on MICHELIN tires.
A Michelin-equipped Skoda Fabia R5 in the hands of Jari Huttunen and Anti Linnaketo topped the WRC2 order.
The next round of the FIA World Rally Championship will take teams to Germany for the all-asphalt Rallye Deutschland on August 17-20.