Finland’s Valtteri Bottas claimed P5 in the Arctic Lapland Rally over the weekend, making his first appearance ever in WRC machinery.
Making the most of his off-season, Mercedes AMG’s Valtteri Bottas decided to take part in an extra-curricular rally in Finland over the weekend. Not one to shy away from a challenge, he opted for one of the toughest events in the world by entering Finland’s Rally Championships’ Arctic Lapland rally.
Using an M-Sport prepared Ford Fiesta with World Championship winning co-driver Timo Rautiainen alongside him, the rookie put on a good showing with little drama over the event. Finishing the first day in P5 overall, he held that position through Sunday’s running. Claiming a stage win on the second day, the Finn ended the event in P5 and two minutes down on the winner Emil Lindholm
“Very good overall experience.” beamed Bottas afterwards. Having been supported through the entire event by his wife Emilia, he told Finland’s MTV that his main mission for the rally was to at least make the finish: “One goal was to get to the finish and we did that. I learned a lot of lessons and the pace increased all the time.”
“Everything went as planned.”
Rautiainen, who won two World Championships in 2000 & 2002 as co-driver to Marcus Gronholm, said that he was left with no doubt that the front-running F1 driver has the talent to make it in rallying: “This Flying Finn really has it; pure speed in his first ever rally!”
According to MTV, Bottas has already said that he firmly plans on returning to the event, possibly as early as next season: “I learned a lot about Timo. I’m really happy with our collaboration and this project. Not later than next year we will be driving the next rally here.”