Rally Finland: the first victory for Nikolay Gryazin in WRC 2!

Rally Finland: the first victory for Nikolay Gryazin in WRC 2!
The debut in the Finnish round of the World Rally Championship brought victory for Nikolay Gryazin and Yaroslav Fedorov.

After six long weeks of summer break, the Russian crew returned to the World Championship to take part in the fastest round in the calendar – Rally Finland. As usual, the main task for the rally was to gain experience and get acquainted with special stages of this iconic event, but Nikolay and Yaroslav managed to surpass the wildest expectations.
Nikolay Gryazin - WRC Neste Rally Finland 2019
During the rally, the SRT crew decided to drive carefully going through the special stages of each day for the morning loop and then to attack at the second pass. This tactic worked: every time at the second pass, Nikolay gained speed and showed time comparable with the Finnish rally drivers' results who are no stranger to the local special stages.
Nikolay Gryazin - WRC Neste Rally Finland 2019
Consistency also played its role thanks to which our crew managed to avoid serious problems. At the same time, rivals periodically made mistakes that led to retires or punctures and time loss. By the end of the Friday, Nikolay and Yaroslav were on the second place in WRC 2 standings, second only to Pierre-Louis Loubet, for whom this Rally Finland was fifth in his career.
Nikolay Gryazin - WRC Neste Rally Finland 2019
Saturday was marked by a fight with Jari Huttunen, who managed to win back a second position on the morning loop but lost to the SRT crew in the second half of the day. The end of Saturday was marked by the Loubet crash, due to which he lost more than seven minutes, and Nikolay and Yaroslav unexpectedly took the lead, being ahead of Huttunen by 12.1 seconds.
Nikolay Gryazin - WRC Neste Rally Finland 2019
On the final day, the Russian crew had to keep its rival away from the attack distance, eliminating pressure from him. Nikolay and Yaroslav coped with this task perfectly, having been faster than Jari on two special stages out of four and getting their first victory in the World Rally Championship event. Moreover, the Russians managed to gain the first point in the overall standings.
Nikolay Gryazin - WRC Neste Rally Finland 2019

Nikolay Gryazin
Driver
"This victory is the result of long preparation and test work, in particular – the start in the Rally Estonia. Even though the road surface is not very similar to the Finnish one, participation in that rally allowed us to find specific settings for fast special stages with a large number of jumps, thereby preparing us for Rally Finland.
Nikolay Gryazin - WRC Neste Rally Finland 2019
Indeed, we are very sorry that Loubet lost the race because he claimed to win in WRC 2. However, this is a rally, and the World Championship and anything can happen here. Of course, we did not assume that we could win this iconic event from the first time: obviously, it is tough to compete with local rally drivers and those who start here not for the first time.
Nikolay Gryazin - WRC Neste Rally Finland 2019
The fact that we dramatically improved our results on the second pass of special stages in comparison with the first one indicates how important it is to know the specifics of each stage. We are glad to win, but we know that we were lucky, and looking to Kalle Rovanpera's results, his gap from us indicates how much faster we could and should drive on this stages – even if Kalle running in the manufacturer' WRC 2 Pro category.
Nikolay Gryazin - WRC Neste Rally Finland 2019
In general, the weekend was very successful for us. We showed a fast and consistent drive and fulfilled the tasks set for the rally: safe driving on the first run, work with pace notes and the attack on the second run. We had luck on our side, because faster rivals had problems during the race, and we had only two dangerous moments – a collision with a pile of logs on SS2 (and a trunk lid torn off after that) and an attempt to went off the road on Saturday morning.
Nikolay Gryazin - WRC Neste Rally Finland 2019
Special thanks to the team: the episode with the trunk lid showed the professional work of the SRT team, which, despite severe damage to the shell, eliminated all the consequences and provided us with an almost perfect car.
Nikolay Gryazin - WRC Neste Rally Finland 2019
We also especially focus on Rally Finland magnificent atmosphere and local fans. The whole country seems to really live with this event, and we were supported at special stages and road sections by everyone – both small children and older people. Also, many thanks to the Russian fans: those who came to the rally from different cities of Russia, and those who followed our performances and cheered us up on social media. We are glad that we did not disappoint you. See you soon!"
Nikolay Gryazin - WRC Neste Rally Finland 2019
The next round of the World Rally Championship – ADAC Rallye Deutschland – will take part on August 22-25. Before this, Nikolay Gryazin and Yaroslav Fedorov will return to the European Rally Championship again to take part in Barum Czech Rally Zlin: it will take place in two weeks.