Sweden's Patrik Sandell finished third in the World Rally Championship S2000 Rally Finland, with fellow Red Bull Skoda driver Juho Hanninen taking the honours in a one-off appearance in his home event.
Hanninen, who normally drives for the Skoda factory team on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, led from halfway through the opening day to maintain his impressive advantage to the end.
Sandell was also amongst the frontrunners from the very beginning. He finished the opening day fourth overall and made up another place to claim a well-deserved podium. Despite damaging a brake hose yesterday afternoon, he won two stages today to climb back to third on what he considers to be a second home event.
“I really enjoyed the battle I had with my fellow Swede P-G Andersson today in another Skoda – it’s been a great fight,” Sandell said.
“Without the problem we had with the brake hose yesterday I’m sure that we could have had second, but it’s always good to finish on the podium so I can’t complain.
"We came here on a mission to get some decent points for the championship, and we have succeeded in doing that. With the Rally Finland taking place over just two days this year it’s been non-stop action from start to finish. For any driver, it’s a massive adrenaline rush!”
The final day of the rally took in eight long stages, totalling 162 competitive kilometres. Following the hot conditions of yesterday, temperatures today were much cooler after some overnight rain that dampened down the stages and offered a bit more grip.
Team principal Raimund Baumschlager concluded: “We’re very happy with this result: it’s hard to ask for much more than two cars on the podium! It’s clear that Juho has enjoyed competing on his home rally in our car, and it’s a great achievement that once again he is in the top 10 overall here.
"Patrik too has done a fantastic job: he did not give up once and fought his way to an extremely well-deserved result. I’d like to congratulate both of our drivers: to finish in the top three on such a fast and famous rally just goes to show their levels of skill, bravery and commitment.”