How the WRC support classes look going into Rally Finland

Title contenders won't be locking horns, but local stars will be grabbing all the attention


It’s been far too long since rally cars have been (literally) flying between the Finnish trees in the World Rally Championship. This week, that gets put right.

But of course, it’s not just the stars in the World Rally Cars that fans can look forward to watching. The WRC2 and WRC3 fields are also in town for round 10 of the 2021 season.

Here’s how the support classes stack up ahead of one of the most spectacular events on the global motorsport calendar.


Seeded entry list:

Seeded Driver Co-driver Car
20 Mads Østberg Torstein Eriksen Citroën C3 Rally2
21 Jari Huttunen Mikko Lukka Hyundai i20 N Rally2
22 Nikolay Gryazin Konstantin Aleksandrov Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
23 Teemu Suninen Mikko Markkula Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
24 Martin Prokop Michal Ernst Ford Fiesta Rally2
25 Tom Kristensson David Arthusiander Ford Fiesta Rally2
26 Georg Linnamäe James Morgan Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
27 Oliver Solberg Craig Drew Hyundai i20 N Rally2

Mads Østberg has a big opportunity to claw back some vital points in his quest to win a second WRC2 title in a row as rival Andreas Mikkelsen is in Portugal competing in the European Rally Championship instead.

A driveshaft problem beset Østberg’s Acropolis Rally and left him on the back foot relative to rally winner Mikkelsen in the standings. But victory this week would put Østberg right back into play – he can potentially tie with Mikkelsen on 126 points if he wins the powerstage.

An Østberg win is quite probable too. Although there have been myriad issues this season with the Citroën C3 Rally2 he developed, he has been fast and was a superb second overall in a C3 WRC the last time he was here.



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But there are a couple of Finnish drivers at the head of the queue, ready to take Østberg down. Teemu Suninen is the driver everyone will be watching, as he starts his first WRC event not in an M-Sport Ford since 2016.

Suninen will drive the same Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 that Esapekka Lappi used to win both Arctic Rally Finland and Rally Portugal earlier this season.

Hyundai’s Jari Huttunen – who will be Suninen’s WRC2 team-mate in Spain – is another likely challenger, although his preparations were hindered by a crash in testing on Monday.

Following his debut in a Ford Fiesta Rally2 in Greece, Nikolay Gryazin is back in a Polo R5 for Finland – as is the rapidly developing Georg Linnamäe who drove a Toksport Škoda last month.

Oliver Solberg’s weekend could be dictated by how quickly he and Craig Drew can adjust to each other in what for now is a one-off partnership, while Martin Prokop and Tom Kristensson represent M-Sport in a pair of Fiesta Rally2s.


Seeded entry list:

Seeded Driver Co-driver Car
28 Pepe López Borja Odriozola Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo
29 Egon Kaur Silver Simm Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
30 Mikko Heikkilä Topi Luhtinen Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo
31 Teemu Asunmaa Marko Salminen Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo
32 Emil Lindholm Reeta Hämäläinen Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo
34 Eerik Pietarinen Antti Linnaketo Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
35 Raul Jeets Toom Andrus Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo
36 Miguel Díaz-Aboitiz Diego Sanjuan de Eusebio Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo
37 Riku Tahko Markus Soininen Hyundai i20 R5
38 Jusso Metsälä Matti Kangas Škoda Fabia R5
39 Lauri Joona Mikael Korhonen Škoda Fabia R5
40 Martin Vlček Karolína Jugasová Hyundai i20 R5
41 Jari Huuhka Jarno Metso Škoda Fabia R5
43 Paolo Nobre Gabriel Morales Škoda Fabia R5

We could lazily dub this one the Finnish Škoda class couldn’t we? Of the 14 starters, eight of them are Finnish and 10 of the cars are Fabias. Of those 10 Fabias, six will be driven by Finns.

But let’s forget that numerical riddle for a moment, and concentrate on who is actually driving in WRC3 this week. Not title contenders Yohan Rossel and Kajetan Kajetanowicz, that’s perhaps the headline news.

Their absence opens the door for several others. Pepe López and Egon Kaur are top seeds and both are strong shouts for success, but it wouldn’t be a major upset to see a local standing atop the WRC3 podium on Sunday.

Teemu Asunmaa is already a category winner this year, having won the WRC’s earlier trip to Finland this season in the Arctic Circle. Mikko Heikkilä, Eerik Pietarinen and Emil Lindholm – who finally dropped a monkey from his back in winning this year’s Finnish national championship recently – will be factors too.

Lauri Joona could be the surprise package though. The Junior WRC regular has a Škoda Fabia R5 at his disposal this week for his home round of the championship, and in many senses he has nothing to lose.

His season program continues a few weeks later in Spain, so Joona can simply enjoy himself in Finland and try to make an impression in a four-wheel-drive car.

Words:Luke Barry

Photos:Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool