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Winds of change

Last week’s tragic events in Oslo have left their mark on Rally Finland 2011: Ian Slater, Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs, Ford of Europe spoke eloquently to this topic at yesterday evening’s traditional eve-of-rally service park get-together.

Tony Melville ja maailman tarkin rallikirjanpito.YLE Keski-Suomi / Sanna Pirkkalainen

Later, Petter Solberg evoked an even more emotional response from the assembled media with a powerful presentation prior to his team’s equally traditional light-hearted fashion show.

There’s a feeling around that one whole day of an already compact rally has slipped away from Jyväskylä. People are putting a brave face on it but it is clear the demand for accommodation and the takings of Jyväskylä’s restaurants and catering firms are set to take a hit. Next year we’re in for more of the same. The remote service in Lahti also means fewer opportunities to interview the leading drivers as they come off the Friday morning stages.

Changes, too, in the manufacturer line-up: Mini’s full-on participation from 2012 on is highly welcome and there’s a big silver VW truck in the service park as well – the WRC Polo will be with us soon. An end to the current two-horse race is just what the doctor ordered.

In the dry conditions it looks like tactics are going to play a major role. First o the road this evening, Loeb is at a clear disadvantage. Jari-Matti Latvala and Loeb’s Citroen team-mate Sébastien Ogier stand to benefit big time. The scene is set, the actors in place, it’s time to boogie – and the Citroens were worryingly fast on this morning’s shakedown.

Lähteet: Tony Melville

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