At 15.38 Finnish time the moment arrived: Riku Tahko entered a new chapter in his career as rally driver, for the 27-year-old Finn had just completed his first special stage in the most prestigious rally category in a car complying with WRC specifications. To date the young Finn had always driven the S2000 cars that provide the basis for the more powerful WRC challengers. No wonder, then, that after the first stage of the Rally Finland, Riku was excited about his new friend, namely the MINI John Cooper Works WRC.
“The MINI feels very good,” said Riku after Special Stage 1, which he had started in fifth position on the road. At that point on the event he had proven even faster than marque team-mates Armindo Araujo and Paulo Nobre of the WRC Team MINI Portugal. That Riku had first tested the MINI WRC shortly before the start of the Rally Finland after it had only been confirmed a few weeks earlier that he would be contesting the event in the car was certainly not apparent. “We had planned to drive a S2000 car,” he reported shortly beforehand, “but had not found any good options. Then we contacted TOK Sport, and they said the magic letters: WRC.”
Riku fared equally well on the following two stages, permitting the Turkish TOK Sport Team to be more than satisfied with the debut of their protégé. That he was one of the first drivers on the stages made as little difference to him (“Yes, the gravel makes the stages slippery, but I am getting along with that.”) as the cracked windscreen he suffered on Stage 2. Riku ended the first day in Finland just 1,3 seconds and a single position behind Armindo, who, like Paulo, starts Day 2 in Finland in a quietly confident frame of mind. On Friday the crews face 133,92 timed kilometres, split over nine stages. At 23,09 kilometres Stages 8 and 11 (Lankamaa 1/2) are the longest tests of the day.
Day 2 in Finland starts at 7:42 local time (CEST -1) with the 12,75 kilometre Urria test. All Rally Finland information and updates are, as always, available on Facebook.com/MINImotorsport and Twitter.com/MINImotorsport.
After a difficult start to the second day of the Rally Spain, Dani Sordo delivers a spectacular show for his fans with the MINI WRC.
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On the first day in Spain all teams fought off difficult weather conditions and challenging stages. While virtually every stage was marked by retirements, one MINI WRC driver kept his nerve.
Ultimate cornering, breathtaking acceleration.
Qualifying stage, autograph session, media conference, starting order draw and ceremonial start: The preliminaries for the Rallye Spain are over; all five MINI WRC Crews are raring to start the WRC finale.
A car built for victory. The MINI John Cooper Works Challenge races across the track at 240 km/h.
Experience MINI John Cooper Works.