Huttunen aiming high on ERC Rally Poland
Jari Huttunen is returning to the FIA European Rally Championship in Poland next week (28-30 June) to chase the win that got away from him last season.
Runner-up in the ERC3 Junior rankings in 2017, Huttunen will drive in a 2Brally-prepared Hyundai i20 R5 under the Hyundai Motorsport N banner on PZM 76th Rally Poland.
The 25-year-old came within 8.3s of claiming victory on the high-speed gravel event last September after a time penalty in the closing stages and a final-stage puncture – the result of his charging recovery drive – restricted him to second place behind Nikolay Gryazin.
“It’s a really nice rally with fast roads,” said Huttunen, who set seven fastest stage times on Rally Poland last year, which he also contested in a Hyundai i20 R5. “I want to win after last year, but I know it will be difficult to do so because the competition is high.”
After finishing second to Chris Ingram in ERC3 Junior in 2017, Huttunen contested several rounds of the world championship in 2018 in a Hyundai i20 R5. He also carried out testing duties for Hyundai Motorsport in addition to tackling other selected events. He continues to represent the Korean make in 2019 and has taken part on rallies in his native Finland in a Hyundai i20 World Rally Car.
“I enjoy driving the Hyundai i20 R5, especially on Rally Poland where the speed and performance of the car is strong,” said Huttunen. “It is my job to show this but, as with every rally, I start with the aim to win and I will do my best to do so. I am also grateful to Hyundai Motorsport for giving me this extra opportunity to get some seat time on a high-speed gravel rally.”
While PZM 76th Rally Poland marks Huttunen’s first start in this year’s ERC, he has followed the results of the opening three rounds and reckons defending champion Alexey Lukyanuk will be his toughest opponent. Lukyanuk is one of 23 drivers on the provisional list of entries in a top-of-the-range R5 car.
Based in Mikołajki in the Masuria lake district, PZM 76th Rally Poland takes place from 28-30 June and features 15 all-gravel stages over a competitive distance of 201.42 kilometres.