Bottas fifth on rally debut


Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has made his rally debut, finishing fifth overall in the Arctic Lapland Rally, the opening round of the Finnish Rally Championship.

Though a 'rally rookie', the Finn had an advantage over his rivals in that he was at the wheel of an M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC - in similar spec to M-Sport’s WRC drivers - while his rivals, though more experienced, were mostly at the wheel of cars used in WRC2

Nonetheless, alongside co-driver, two-time WRC champion Timo Rautiainen, Bottas claimed a stage win and went on to finish fifth overall, despite a slow start.

The rally, which was won by Emil Lindholm in a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, was also contested by former F1 driver Mika Salo, the former Tyrrell, Arrows, BAR, Ferrari, Red Bull and Toyota driver eventually finishing 11th.

Bottas spent much of the rally pursuing Henrik Pietarinen's Skoda Fabia, but faded in the latter stages, the last two of which were claimed by Pietarinen.

"We finished my first ever rally 5th overall with a stage win today," tweeted Bottas after the event. "Tricky & enjoyable stages, so much fun."

Picture Credit: Bottas/Twitter

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Published: 27/01/2019
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