Finnish talent in tough company at Rally Estonia – “I won’t take unnecessary pressure”

Pacco Motorsport's team heads out for the first time with their own car beyond Finland's borders, towards Rally Estonia.
Benjamin Korhola
Benjamin Korhola. Photo: Jani Salonen
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Benjamin Korhola has managed to get plenty of test kilometres under his belt, setting high goals for Estonia. The partly familiar route from last year is a favourite for Korhola.

“Preparations for the rally have gone well. Successful tests in Finland brought some small changes to the car that felt good. We did some more testing in Estonia on Tuesday to get the final settings and a good race feeling. The routes in Estonia are very similar to last year when we drove the route with a Rally3 car. I liked those roads a lot,” Korhola summarises.

“I aim for my best performance of the season in Estonia, even though the level will be really tough. However, I won’t take unnecessary pressure from that. You have to go all out right from the start if you want good positions.”

Rally Estonia is the first international rally together for the driver pair. Co-driver Sebastian Virtanen approaches the high-level rally with confidence.

“We head into Rally Estonia in good spirits. This is the first international race of the season, and on Estonia’s fast roads, you can really push hard,” Virtanen says.

“Preparing for a bigger rally is always different, especially when it takes place outside Finland’s borders, and the language of communication is English. Additionally, the ERC has its own set of rules that we’ve had to get familiar with. However, the principle remains the same: the fastest wins.”

Pacco Motorsport’s team boss Kimmo Koivunen also emphasises that they are not heading to Estonia just to participate.

“We’ve wanted to invest in preparation and aim to do it as professionally as possible. We know that with our car, we might be at a disadvantage, but we have identified areas for development. It’s just that these are long processes with the factory that take time. We might be slightly behind others, but we have strong faith in our work,” Koivunen summarises.

“Our goal is to be the best Hyundai in Rally Estonia, which will hopefully bring us a good position. Expectations are high, but we must also remember the realities. We don’t have much experience yet, either with the roads in Estonia or the car, but the driver pair will certainly make up for these shortcomings.”

Rally Estonia begins on Friday morning with qualifying, which will determine the starting order. The first special stage of the rally starts that same evening. The competition includes a total of 14 special stages.

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