Evgeniy Novikov’s ALM Russia Ford Fiesta RS WRC landed heavily in Day One of the WRC Neste Oil Rally Finland, and left co-driver Denis Giraudet with an injured back. Giraudet, ever the professional, completed the event, but the pairing were unable to chase after a strong result in Jyvaskyla.
Giraudet subsequently underwent back surgery after the event and was ruled out of the WRC car for the foreseeable future as he recuperates and regains his strength. Replacing him for the WRC ADAC Rallye Deutschland is Nicolas Klinger, an experience co-driver in the sport with a keen insight into the sport and the complexities of a WRC situation.
“Unfortunately it was one jump we misjudged during recce and it destroyed my back and started to destroy our rally and then we roll,” said Giraudet. “It was not the perfect start, but we tried to come back and we managed to finish with a lot of experience so we have to look at the bigger picture. It’s still positive.”
At the 4.55km Shakedown Stage for this event, the pacesetters are the usual WRC suspects:
01) S. Loeb – 02m 25.2s
02) J-M. Latvala + 0.8s
03) M. Ostberg + 0.8s
04) P. Solberg + 01.1s
05) T. Neuville + 01.4s
06) M. Hirvonen + 01.6s