The 2018 Finnish Rally Championship (FRC) series kicked-off last weekend in the Arctic Lapland Rally driven in the snowy landscape of the Arctic Circle. This year a total of 135 cars, including the Yuasa backed Rally Team Kasing’s driver/co-driver pair Jukka Kasi and Henri Ania, took on the challenging roads of Rovaniemi. Kasi and Ania finished 10th in the FRC 1 class in the two-day rally covering over 250 SS-kilometres – ultimately taking home the 9th highest points in the FRC1-series.
The Arctic Rally marked the first winter-season-rally that the Rally Team Kasing drove with the Skoda Fabia R5. Preparations for the Arctic Rally began earlier in January when they drove the first winter-tests in Kuusamo Finland. Necessary adjustments were made to the car and important mileage on snow was covered before the opening of the season.
The competition week in Rovaniemi commenced with the four-day reconnaissance session, while the final tunings for both the car and the driver were made on Thursday afternoon’s “Shake Down” SS, which received praises from the team.
Speaking at the end of Thursday’s session, driver Jukka Kasi said, “the reconnaissance is always quite a long session, but we’ve evolved in it so that kilometre after another the notes just appear on the paper almost unnoticeably”. Co-driver Henri Ania, praised the test as one of the best ones so far.
The two-day Rally commenced on Friday afternoon in the twenty-four kilometre blong Aittajärvi SS1. Overall, Kasi and Ania cleared the first five stages of the Rally with the 10th fastest time in their FRC1 class. Friday’s stages that varied in length and nature were for both the driver and co-driver’s liking.
The second day of the Rally kicked off early on Saturday along with a change in the driving conditions as the loose snow on the road surface made driving more difficult and the swirling snow reduced visibility. The extra set of lights did not bring the much-hoped relief as the dry frozen snow hovered above the road. As a result of a ‘short visit on a snow bank’ at SS8 Sarriojärvi, the time gap to the leading pair grew longer compared to the consistent driving on the other stages.
In terms of length, the last three SSs amounted to one normal FRC-rally – the legendary last Ristilampi SS11 alone extending nearly 50 kilometres. Thanks to smooth driving, the Rally Team Kasing pair regained 10th position in the FRC1 class, crossing the finish line in Arctic Lapland Rally for the fourth time in their rally-career.
After the event driver Kasi and co driver Ania commented, “the feeling was great throughout the entire Friday – conditions, car, note and driver worked well together. We walk away from this Rally with a lot more experience and are very satisfied with the 10th position in the highly competitive FRC1 class.
Watch the full video summary of the rally below:
Photo Credit: Taneli Niinimäki, Hannu Rainamo and Timka Seppänen