Asunmaa to focus on title race with a solid finish in Lahti
14.08.2023  |  305
Teemu Asunmaa and Ville Mannisenmäki in FRC Kuopio. Photo: Merita Mäkinen / Meritapix
Teemu Asunmaa and Ville Mannisenmäki in FRC Kuopio. Photo: Merita Mäkinen / Meritapix
Teemu Asunmaa and Ville Mannisenmäki have finished fourth in the penultimate round of the FRC, Future SM Ralli, held in Lahti. Fourth place  finish is enough to keep the TGS Skoda Motorsport's Finnish driver firmly in the championship contention.

The rally began on Friday evening with two special stages following the Lahti Historic Rally competitors. Asunmaa started the rally by setting the fastest time on SS1, yet a damage-free collision with a rock during the second special stage compelled the Skoda driver to adopt a cautious approach for the remainder of the stage. As the night fell, Asunmaa found himself in second place, trailing the leader by only .1 seconds.

"We approached the second special stage a bit more cautiously compared to the first one. There were a few places on the wider road where we could have pushed a bit harder; few seconds were left on the stage. Otherwise, we are feeling positive," Asunmaa commented after the second special stage.

The morning loop on Saturday consisted of four special stages, and Asunmaa maintained a steady pace without pushing excessively. At the midday service, he held the third position, trailing the leader by 7.8 seconds.

"The morning loop went well without any major incidents. The fast roads of Lahti suit the new car quite well. There's still room for improvement," Asunmaa mentioned.

During the second loop of the day, Asunmaa aimed to refine the car's settings for better performance, but unfortunately, the adjustments didn't yield the desired outcome. Instead of pushing hard in the afternoon, the Skoda driver adopted a secure and analytical approach, leading to a fourth-place finish, a strategic result that keeps championship aspirations well alive.

"We attempted some changes in the car's settings, but unfortunately, they didn't work as intended. Our strategy was clear for the first loop of the afternoon. It's better this way; we'll be the third car on the roads in Kokkola, rather than being at the front. We didn’t push too hard today, as our times reflected, so there's no need to worry," Asunmaa analyzed.

Heading into the season's final round in Kokkola, Asunmaa stands third in the championship points. With 1.5 times the usual championship points on offer, the title will be decided in Keski-Pohjanmaa at the end of October.

"An intriguing title fight awaits, but there's still quite a lot of time until Kokkola, where the winner takes the championship. We'll try to participate in another rally or have a good period of testing before that. We extend our gratitude to our partners and the support team for this weekend. We'll push hard for the title in Kokkola," Asunmaa concluded.

The Finnish Rally Championship concludes with the SM Ralli Kokkola on September 29-30.

Future SM Ralli results:
Lauri Joona                 58:44,3            Skoda Fabia RS Rally2
Juha Salo                     +5,1                 Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo
Roope Korhonen        +16,5               Volkswagen Polo GTI R5
Teemu Asunmaa        +30,3               Skoda Fabia RS Rally2
Jari Huttunen              +58,0               Skoda Fabia RS Rally2
FRC point standings after 6/7 rounds:
  1. Lauri Joona                                                103
  2. Jari Huttunen                                            100
  3. Teemu Asunmaa         97
  4. Juha Salo                                                     85
  5. Roope Korhonen        40

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