20 de abril de 2012

Q & A com Jari-Matti Latvala

Where are you in the world right now and how are you feeling? “I am in the west of Finland in Tuuri, my home town. I have to say I am pretty okay. I don’t have pain in my left arm but it’s still with a safety belt around it so I cannot use it. In my mind I am quite good too. It’s a big, big disappointment I can’t drive in Argentina but on the other hand when I return in Greece I will be more motivated than ever.”

We hate to go over this again but can you explain what happened? “I was just returning from training. I had been skiing for 18 kilometres and I just had to make one downhill section of 300 metres to get to the road when I fell. When I landed I felt all the weight on my left shoulder and I was quickly in really, really a lot of pain. I was struggling to get to the road but I phoned my mother who was at our winter cottage. Within 20 minutes she had got me to a small hospital where they took the x-rays. But the pain was enormous, really, really bad.”

The focus must now be on getting fit for the Acropolis Rally. How much hard work is ahead for you? “I am seeing a physiotherapist every week. In fact tonight I leave for Helsinki for a meeting tomorrow. I want to get the heeling started and the movement back as soon as possible. The operation was one week ago and I still have to use the support belt for one more week. After this there will be more flexibility and I can really begin to work on it. But the doctors are confident I will be ready for Acropolis.”

Greece is obviously regarded as one of the toughest rallies in the calendar. How much of a concern is that for you? “Well actually Argentina would almost have been possible. The problem was the recce. I needed two weeks between the operation and the recce starting to have tried to be there but I was three days too late. But actually there would have been a lot of stress for the arm over three long days and I couldn’t risk it. The doctors said if there had been a problem with the steel plate and the screws then everything would have had to happen again and it would have been two or three months to recover. It was better to miss one rally than the rest of the season.”

It’s good to hear you’ll be ready for the Acropolis but will you be ready for the pre-event test your team has planned? “I hope so and the doctors are confident I will be fine. The only thing will be the pain. I don’t know what this will be like but I will just have to live with it and hope it won’t cause any problems. I can always take painkillers.”

Based on your pace so far this season you’d have been one of the favourites to win in Argentina. How much harder does that make missing the event? “To be honest I have had a difficult start to the season. Okay I have won one rally and I have been leading the others so there are many positives but I have to accept this year has been difficult and my chances of the title are not very good now. But it’s better to have all your troubles in a row.”

Will you follow Rally Argentina next week or will you try to forget it’s happening? “I will follow it very carefully. I will get the stage times to my phone after every stage. Of course I want to drive and I feel bad that I am not because rallying is my passion.”

What do you think of your replacement for Argentina, Dani Sordo? Was he the right choice and what can he do in your car? “Dani has been driving very well in Argentina before and showed good speed in Portugal. We know he is very quick and I believe the Ford is a very strong car and the team is very strong also. Dani has all the possibilities to be on the podium.”

And what about Petter Solberg, your team-mate. What can he do on this event? “He will be fighting for the victory, no question. He won’t dominate because nowadays it is very difficult to do that because it is so close. There will be a big fight and you never know about the weather conditions. The length of the new stages will also make the rally very difficult.”

How frustrating is it to miss out on those new stages? “It would have been very important to see those stages but I am sure I will get some information from my team.”

Your team boss Malcolm Wilson says you are still capable of winning the world title this season. How good does that make you feel? “It feels really, really good to hear that and to know the team is still behind me. It’s always good to have this kind of self-confidence but I don’t want to think about the title. I want to go rally by rally now, do the best I can and see where we are at the end of the season.”

Fonte: WRC.com

Q&A with Mikko Hirvonen Ahead of WRC Argentina

Citroen driver Mikko Hirvonen looks ahead to Rally Argentina as the WRC's Latin American round quickly approaches. The Finn is excited about contesting Argentina in the DS3 and remains upbeat despite being excluded from Rally Portugal despite winning the event earlier this month. Here's what Hirvonen had to say:

Do you feel that your control over the Citroën DS3 WRC reached new heights at Rally Portugal?
“It was a very unusual rally. We found ourselves clear at the front quite quickly and the pace we then adopted was more about surviving than anything else. At the same time, our lead over the other guys just kept getting bigger! Jarmo joked that at that level of performance we’d be fit for the Finnish Championship...But we didn’t need show a real turn of speed, we just had to control the race to the end, which is what we did. Preliminary testing in Argentina has given me the chance to get back to driving at a pace more in keeping with the WRC.”

Citroën has achieved a lot of success in Argentina in the past. Are you pleased to be competing in this event with the “Reds”?
“I am pleased to compete in every rally with Citroën! It’s true that Argentina is a special rally, the atmosphere is incredible and some stages, such as Mina Clavero/Giulio Cesare, are like no other. I had my best ever result here last year, when I finished as runner-up. I hope I can do at least as well this year; in any event, I am determined to be in the mix with the top drivers. The rally will be all the more interesting for the fact this year’s format leans even more towards endurance.”

From Sweden to Mexico, and Mexico to Portugal: with Jarmo, you’ve been recording videos recounting your most unlikely of journeys from one rally to the next. Can we expect more of the same?
“Yes, you’ll be able to see my adventures between Portugal and Argentina in a few days! I had this idea and we decided to actually do it. So I carry my two enormous travel bags with me from one event to the next, and we have fun making these little films. It gives us a chance to show people who don’t have the opportunity to travel a little insight into the countries we go through. I am very involved in managing my website and I am an active user of Facebook and Twitter. I like these media because they allow me to communicate directly with my fans.”

13 de abril de 2012

Latvala fratura clavícula e fica de fora do Rali da Argentina

Jari-Matti Latvala fraturou sua clavícula esquerda em um acidente de esqui e não participará do Rali da Argentina.

O finlandês estava na Lapônia dando continuidade ao seu programa de treinamentos quando sofreu uma queda. Em seguida, foi submetido a cirurgia, mas não estará em forma para a próxima etapa do Mundial de Rali, entre 26 e 29 de abril.

A Ford espera que ele possa retornar à categoria na sexta etapa do campeonato, na Grécia, no final de maio.

A equipe ainda não anunciou o substituto de Latvala para a Argentina. Petter Solberg é o outro piloto da Ford, enquanto as equipes satélites e independentes contam com Mads Ostberg, vencedor em Portugal, Ott Tanak e Evgeny Novikov.

A lesão é mais um dos reveses enfrentados pelo piloto em 2012. Depois de Mikko Hirvonen ter trocado a Ford pela Citroen, Latvala foi elevado ao status de primeiro piloto do time, com a expectativa de que lutasse com o título com Sébastien Loeb. No entanto, mesmo que tenha vencido na Suécia, os acidentes sofridos em Monte Carlo, México e Portugal lhe jogaram para o sexto lugar na tabela, 38 atrás do francês.

Fonte: Tazio Autosport

12 de abril de 2012

Kovalainen quer evolução da Caterham em 2012

A Caterham iniciou 2012 prometendo brigar no pelotão intermediário da F1, mas nas duas primeiras etapas do calendário não mostrou um desempenho melhor do que o exibido no anterior. Em entrevista a revista britânica ‘Autosport’, Heikki Kovalainen admitiu que o primeiro objetivo é reduzir a diferença para os pilotos à frente.

“É difícil dizer, mas o que temos de mirar é reduzir a distância para o pelotão intermediário”, falou Kovalainen. “Até o fim da temporada nós devemos conseguir fazer isso”, avaliou.

“Com sorte, isso acontecerá mais rápido, mas não podemos esperar que os outros fiquem parados. Todos estão avançando”, destacou.

O finlandês reconheceu que a Caterham não está no mesmo nível das rivais, mas disse que o time de Tony Fernandes sabe onde deve melhorar.

“Não estamos no nível de alguns outros times, mas nós sabemos quais são as principais áreas a melhorar”, contou. “A realidade é que nós ainda não estamos lá”, admitiu Kovalainen. “Ainda não nos unimos ao pelotão.”

“Uma vez que nos unirmos àquele grupo, vamos superar alguns carros às vezes porque é muito próximo. Mas é difícil superar um carro ou um time que está apenas à nossa frente. Eles estão no pelotão e isso muda de acordo com a sessão, mas nós estamos sempre em nossa posição normal, porque nós não conseguimos dar um passo à frente”, continuou.

Kovalainen ponderou que o time malaio progrediu, mas que a evolução da equipe ainda levará algum tempo. “Mas nós progredimos ao longo do inverno e nós estamos progredindo o tempo todo. Apenas leva tempo. Precisa de mais pessoas e uma instalação melhor, e nós estamos melhorando isso atualmente. Estamos no caminho certo”, encerrou.

Fonte: Grande Prêmio

8 de abril de 2012

Juho Hanninen takes Circuit of Ireland victory

Juho Hanninen clinched his first victory in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge since Azores in July 2011 after Andreas Mikkelsen made a late mistake on the Circuit of Ireland.

The result also made Hanninen only the second ever non-British/Irish victor of the famous event, which was included on the IRC schedule for the first time this year, following in the footsteps of 1979 victor Pentti Airikkala.

Hanninen and Mikkelsen had been locked in battle throughout the weekend, regularly swapping the lead.

A small error by Mikkelsen on Saturday morning saw 2010 series champion Hanninen pull nine seconds clear of his successor. Mikkelsen then charged back, but after getting to within 2.3s of Hanninen going into the final loop, Mikkelsen made a mistake on the Lisburn street stage - hitting one of the bale barriers and losing just over 40s. After that, Mikkelsen conceded defeat and settled for second, allowing Hanninen to take it steady through the wet final stages.

Saturday's drama marked the fourth time in as many IRC asphalt events that Mikkelsen had seen a likely maiden win on the surface slip away at the last gasp, following on from his Mecsek 2011 crash, late Sanremo defeat by Thierry Neuville, and misfire in the Canary Islands last month.

Jan Kopecky had no answer to fellow Skoda drivers Hanninen and Mikkelsen's pace and was a distant third.

Sainteloc's Peugeot IRC programme started with fourth and fifth for Mathieu Arzeno and Craig Breen, the latter delayed by 1m30s of penalties on Friday night following a road section fuel pump failure that made him late into service. Alastair Fisher had been leading them both until crashing his Ford on Saturday's first stage.

Local driver Robert Barrable finished sixth, while a puncture on Friday limited fellow Skoda entrant Sepp Wiegand to seventh.

Leading finishers:

Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Juho Hanninen Skoda 1h58m21.8s
2. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda UK + 44.2s
3. Jan Kopecky Skoda + 1m39.5s
4. Mathieu Arzeno Sainteloc Peugeot + 4m01.6s
5. Craig Breen Sainteloc Peugeot + 4m53.8s
6. Robert Barrable CA1 Skoda + 5m14.5s
7. Sepp Wiegand Skoda Deutschland + 6m15.9s
8. Garry Jennings Mitsubishi + 8m27.9s
9. Donagh Kelly Mitsubishi + 9m11.4s
10. Sam Moffett Mitsubishi + 9m16.0s

Fonte: Autosport

3 de abril de 2012

Happy 27th Birthday Jari-Matti !

Anssi Koivuranta two-time Finnish champion

Fonte: FISSkiJumping.com

The competition on the normal hill in Rovaniemi was won by Anssi Koivuranta with jumps on 95.5 m ad 95 m (270.7 points).

The results of Anssi Koivuranta »

Only 1.5 points behind, the second place went to Matti Hautamaeki, who ended his international career at the World Cup final two weeks ago in Planica. Third was Janne Happonen (265.7 points), who could move up from seventh to the podium in the final round.

Koivuranta was also the best in Sunday's competition on the large hill in Kuusamo. The 23-year-old captured the second title with 140 m and 142 m (309.6 points).

Olli Muotka was second with 300.0 points, Janne Happonen repeated his third place from the day before with 287.4 points.

Top 10, Finnish Championships, Rovaniemi HS 100; March 31st, 2012

Rank Name Distance Points
1. Koivuranta, Anssi 95.5 m - 95 m 270.7
2. Hautamaeki, Matti 95 m - 93.5 m 269.2
3. Happonen, Janne 93 m - 95 m 265.7
4. Larinto, Ville 96.5 m - 91 m 259.7
5, Muotka, Olli 94 m - 90 m 254.2
6. Asikainen, Lauri 94.5 m - 98 m 251.0
7. Keituri, Kalle 91.5 m - 90 m 248.7
8. Klinga, Sebastian 95 m - 95 m 246.5
9. Niemi, Sami 93.5 m - 86 m 245.7
10. Ylipulli, Miika 96 m - 87 m 242.7

Top 10, Finnish Championships, Kuusamo HS 142; April 1st, 2012

Rank Name Distance Points
1. Koivuranta, Anssi 140 m - 142 m 309.6
2. Muotka, Olli 134.5 m - 143 m 300.0
3. Happonen, Janne 132.5 m - 138 m 287,4
4. Keituri, Kalle 130.5 m - 139 m 285.6
5. Valta, Ossi-Pekka 134 m - 134.5 m 281.8
6. Hautamaeki, Matti 131.5 m - 135 m 280.2
7. Asikainen, Lauri 122 m - 131.5 m 250.3
8. Heiskanen, Sami 120.5 m - 126 m 238.2
9. Saapunki, Sami 124.5 m - 121 m 235.4
10. Maeaettae, Jarkko 120 m - 122.5 m 231.0