Bottas secures P9 finish in Arctic Rally appearance

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas secured a top 10 finish at the Arctic Lapland Rally in Finland last weekend, with teenager Kalle Rovanpera taking victory.

Kalle Rovanpera, a Toyota World Rally Championship driver, finished 3 minutes and 27.6 seconds clear of Teemu Asunmaa in P2, and almost ten minutes ahead of Bottas.

Bottas completed the rally in 1 hour 47 minutes and 56.9 seconds to end up 9 minutes and 54 seconds from the leader.

In recent years, Bottas has gotten back into the groove of motorsport after the winter break by taking part in a pre-season rally and he competed in this event in a PH Sport-prepared Citroen DS3 WRC.

The highlight of Bottas’ weekend came on Friday when he finished second fastest during the second of ten stages, split across two days.

However, last season’s F1 World Championship runner-up went off during the final stage on Friday and finished day one in 22nd position.

The Finn was more consistent on day two though and registered top ten finishes in each of the final five stages.

This is the second consecutive year in which Bottas has placed in the top 10 and the former Williams driver seemed satisfied with his performance over the two days.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “Another Arctic Lapland Rally finished.”

“After a messy day 1 and 22nd overall we managed to get back into top 10 with Timo although completely new and challenging conditions for me.

“Learned a lot. And had fun.”

Only two non-Finnish drivers, Dani Sordo and Thomas Radstrom, have ever won the rally since it was introduced in 1966.

Last years’ winner Emil Lindholm was Rovanpera’s main challenger until he lost two minutes on the final stage, finishing fourth as a result.

F1 will return on March 14 at the Australian Grand Prix, where Bottas will be seeking to win the curtain raiser for a second year running.

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William Dodds

Freelance sports journalist based in London.

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