Rd.7 Rally Finland

  • Country : Finland
  • Date : 30/7-2/8/2009
  • Road surface : gravel
  • Total distance : 1449.61km

EVENT REPORT

Three Suzukis finishing in points in Rally Finland

Rally Finland, the penultimate round of 2009 Junior World Rally Championship was held in Jyväskylä and Aaron Burkart / Michael Kolbach (number 31), Michal Kosciuszko / Maciek Szczepaniak (number 32), Simone Bertolotti / Luca Celestini (number 33) and Yoann Bonato / Benjamin Boulloud (number 35) drove their Swift Super 1600s. Among the four Suzuki drivers, Michal Kosciuszko held the greatest attention for competing for the 2009 JWRC championship with Citroen C2 driver Martin Prokop, who still had another rally to go in Spain. Kosciuszko and Burkart were required at least to score more points than his rival, to win the 2009 JWRC title.

Kosciuszko and his Swift S1600 appeared to enjoy a smooth run in the beginning of the first day, putting him in the third place close behind Prokop and Renault driver Kalle Pinomaki. Unfortunate puncture in the Special Stage (SS) 7 and 8 made Kosciuszko drop his position to fifth place, while other Suzuki drivers made a good start with Burkart in third, Bonato in fourth and Bertolotti in eighth place.

Despite the disappointment on the day before, Kosciuszko made a patient effort in the Day 2 to put him back in third place, whereas Bonato was forced to concede the rally for leaving the road in SS 11. Burkart and Bertolotti ended the Day 2 in fourth and sixth respectively.

The remaining Day 3 was too short for Kosciuszko to catch up with Prokop and Pinomaki. However he and his car fought hard and finished in third, which confirmed his 2009 series podium before the final rally is run. Burkart, with fourth place in Finland, also left the possibility of series podium. The last round of 2009 JWRC will be held in Spain from October 1st to 4th.

About the Rally Finland:

The Rally Finland – also known as the Rally of 1000 Lakes – based in the city of Jyväskylä is one of the true greats of the World Rally Championship, as prestigious and unique as Monte Carlo and Great Britain. Its main feature is speed: speed to be carried through spectacular gravel stages that flow through the Lakeland forests of Finland at unabated speed, and feature a huge number of spectacular leaps. The three days of action in Finland covered 23 special stages, amounting to a total competitive distance of 345.15km.

Suzuki entries on Rally Finland:

Four Suzuki Swift Super 1600s competed in this weekend's event: the famous yellow colours of Suzuki were carried by the German crew of Aaron Burkhart/ Michael Kölbach (number 31), the Polish pairing of Michal Kosciuszko/Maciek Szczepaniak (number 32) and the all-Italian crew of Simone Bertolotti/ Luca Celestini (number 33). They were joined by the distinctive white car of French pairing of Yoann Bonato and Benjamin Boulloud (number 35).

Michal Kosciuszko
News from Michal Kosciuszko (PL)
  • Born 20 April 1985
  • Co-driver: Maciek Szczepaniak (PL)

“To be honest there wasn’t so much pressure on me this weekend because I knew that I had done the damage to my championship hopes in Poland. That was – and still is – a huge disappointment for me, but another strong performance and a faultless run from my Suzuki Swift were all that I could hope for to end the year. The pressure was all on Prokop not to make a mistake that might let me win the title, and he didn’t make it.”

Aaron Burkart
News from Aaron Burkart (D)
  • Born 20 September 1982
  • Co-driver: Michael Kolbach (D)

“This is a fantastic event, and while obviously it’s disappointing not to have been closer to winning the title, third place is positive and the season was good. I’ve had an expert team with me every step of the way from Suzuki and the Swift has been a really incredible drive on every round. As a competitor it feels bad not to win but as a driver I can look back on a great season.”

Simone Bertolotti
News from Simone Bertolotti (I)
  • Born 4 May 1985
  • Co-driver: Luca Celestini (I)

“For me this was a good rally, good experience. Sixth place is maybe not so exciting but we are growing as a team and gaining experience of every round. Finland is something special and provides a unique experience that is good to have stored away for the future.”

Yoann Bonato
News from Yoann Bonato (F)
  • Born 13 May 1983
  • Co-driver: Benjamin Boulloud (F)

“This is an amazing rally to take part in, one of the events that makes you want to become a rally driver in the first place. Unfortunately I got a little caught out on the second day, and the tiniest mistake here is punished very, very hard. We left the rally on the Day 2, but as with so much of this season it is a learning experience for me and was a chance to prove not only the speed but the strength of the Suzuki Swift!”

2009 JWRC Rd.7 : Rally Finland, final results
Pos. No. Driver Car Total Time Diff 1st
1 38 M. PROKOP Citroen C2 Super 1600 3:17:03.1 0.0
2 59 K. PINOMÄKI Renault Clio R3 3:17:58.6 +55.5
3 32 M. KOSCIUSZKO Suzuki Swift Super 1600 3:20:24.0 +3:20.9
4 31 A. BURKART Suzuki Swift Super 1600 3:20:53.5 +3:50.4
5 39 M. WALLENWEIN Renault Clio R3 3:20:53.5 +13:25.5
6 33 S.BERTOLOTTI Suzuki Swift Super 1600 3:34:19.0 +17:15.9
7 36 H. WEIJS Jr. Citroen C2 Super 1600 3:51:17.8 +34:14.7
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