Finland’s rally hope makes history – sets ambitious goal amid the excitement

Lauri Joona and his co-driver Janni Hussi achieved a historic milestone in Rally de Portugal.
Lauri Joona.
Lauri Joona. Photo by: Pentti-Oskari Ilmonen
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The duo had a fantastic weekend, finishing third in the WRC2 category, marking their first podium finish in WRC2.

“I must admit, it feels great. This was a challenging event in every aspect, and many faced problems. However, we managed to improve progressively and even our times got better. I’m very satisfied, especially with the position,” Joona enthused.

Joona had anticipated that he could perform well in Portugal.

“We have been improving steadily, and now that we are on gravel, it feels quite good. We still need to go faster, but I kind of know the areas where we need to improve. This met my expectations quite well and even exceeded them a bit, though the aim is always to get on the podium,” Joona outlined.

“Now we have achieved that, and it is never a given. For the future, the key is surely finding the golden mean, setting times close to the leaders but also bringing the car to the finish,” Joona continued.

The WRC2 category was won by Spanish driver Jan Solans, who gave Toyota’s new Rally2 car its first victory in the WRC. Joona finished just under two minutes behind the winner.

Joona’s next challenge is Rally Italy Sardinia, which takes place in about three weeks.

“This obviously boosts our confidence for Sardinia. It’s a similar rally, though a bit slower. We go there with a positive mindset and aim to achieve the same now that we have reached the podium,” Joona firmly stated.

The WRC2 level in Portugal was very high, which further boosted Joona’s spirits.

“Of course, it does. When we looked before the event, there were ten guys who could win the class. Our goal was to start driving a bit faster than we have before. We didn’t think about any punctures. Then, as people started to drop out, we had to ease off the pace a bit.”

Joona had already mentioned that he knows where he needs to improve. It’s about basic things.

“The biggest thing is probably to brake and turn into the corner in one move. The car needs to be more trusted, and being able to throw it straight into the corner with the brake is probably the biggest thing where improvements can be made,” Joona described.

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