The first round of the Finnish Rally Championship took place in north of Finland at traditional Arctic Lapland Rally last weekend.

Temperatures of around -12 degrees greeted crews for the two-day event, which included 12 special stages.

The Subaru Dealer Team Finland, which is run by Tommi Mäkinen Racing, entered reigning Finnish Champion Jari Ketomaa, and Teemu Arminen, who was fifth in last year’s championship.

Jari Ketomaa started the rally strongly and took second place behind Mitsubishi driver Juha Salo at the end of the event. After six demanding stages on the first day, the difference between the two leading drivers was 36 seconds. Arminen was also happy with his results and was holding fifth place.

The second day of the rally started well for the Subaru-duo, but in SS9 Arminen retired after hitting a snow bank.

The Tommi Makinen team made some suspension setting changes to Ketomaas Impreza, but the pace being set by Salo and Katajamaki was too fast, and Ketomaa eventually lost his second place by just by 2.4 seconds.

“To finish third was not what I was aiming for,” he said. “We did everything we could and I was driving maximum, and sometimes also over that limit. I did visit a few snow banks. In the next events my aim is to fight for victories,” he added.

The second round of Finnish Rally Championship, "Peurunka Rally", will take place on February 16 in Laukaa.

The week before that Subaru Dealer Team Finland will compete in the second WRC round, the Swedish Rally.

Points after Round 1
1. Juha Salo, Mitsubishi 24
2. Kosti Katajamäki, Mitsubishi 20
3. Jari Ketomaa, Subaru 16
4. Marko Kakko, Mitsubishi 13
5. Pekka Keski-Korsu, Mitsubishi 10
6. Heikki Westerlund, Mitsubishi 8
7. Tommi Luostarinen, Mitsubishi 6
8. Jani Salomaa, Subaru 5

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