The international rally season 2012 has already begun but the British Rally Championship series will not start until next week in Rallye Sunseeker. Finnish drivers have always been successful in the British rallies and there is plenty of interest for the upcoming season too.
Totally new rally team, Ford Junior Team Finland, is coming to BRC with two drivers; Jussi Kumpumäki and Niko Nieminen. They are competing with Ford Fiesta R2’s which both drivers are familiar with from last season.
22 year old Jussi Kumpumäki from Uusikaupunki is the 2010 Finnish Fiesta Trophy champion and since then he has been focusing on the international rallies.
“Last year was a big learning curve as I drove in many different events. I won on both gravel and tarmac. In BRC I was in 4th place in R2 class and 3rd in the Fiesta Trophy” Kumpumäki says.
!I am now confident about this upcoming season and have set my sights high I will be aiming for the victory in R2 class and the best possible overall results amongst the different two wheel drive cars.
Experiences from the past season are a great help and preparing for the new season is easier. Apart from the opening rally, the rest of the events are familiar. I will be competing with two top co-drivers, Marko Salminen (Finnish Champion 2011) and Jani Salo (BRC R2 Champion 2011) this season” Kumpumäki continues.
19 year old Niko Nieminen from Loimaa has been busy competing in both Finnish and Baltic rallies. Many rally events and hard training have raised young man’s speed to a competitive level this past season. Nieminen’s car is provided by Katap Racing. The team owns a share of the Estonian MM-Motorsport who have experience of rallying at the World Champion level.
Nieminen who became 3rd in the 2011 Finnish Fiesta Trophy is pleased with the new challenges in the BRC series. His co-driver is experienced Pasi Haataja.
!This is an important step in my early rally career. I have noticed that all these different races have improved me as a driver. I think the British series is possibly the best option for me at this stage” says Niko Nieminen.
“The series is extremely competitive, so I get to test my speed against the other young drivers. I will learn a lot during my first season. So I am not quite dreaming of the victories yet.”