Huttunen graduates to M-Sport WRC Puma at Rally Finland

M-Sport will hand Jari Huttunen a full World Rally Championship debut in a Rally1 Ford Puma at next month’s Rally Finland.

Huttunen graduates to M-Sport WRC Puma at Rally Finland

The British squad has elected to promote its WRC2 driver to a Rally1 drive for his home event (4-7 August) to mark a first start in the WRC’s top tier.

The 28-year-old has been steadily climbing the WRC ranks having won the 2020 WRC3 title, before finishing third in the WRC2 standings last year, following a season that saw the Finn start the campaign with Hyundai and end with victory at Rally Monza for M-Sport.

This season Huttunen sits sixth in the WRC2 standings after picking up two third-place finishes in Sweden and Sardinia, ahead of next week’s WRC2 outing at Rally Estonia.

“I’m really excited to be doing my home rally in a Puma, it will be a great experience and I’m looking forward to the atmosphere with the fans and everything,” said Huttunen, who will receive a full Rally1 test day in Estonia prior to Rally Finland.

“It will definitely be challenging on such a fast rally in a car with so much power, but I have a good feeling in the Rally2 already and so I feel we will carry that feeling over to the Puma.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with M-Sport on these past events and I’m starting to feel very at home. The aim for the weekend will be to learn from the car and try to keep a good rhythm with a steady pace.

“It can be a tricky event but I know it quite well, so let’s see what happens. I’m very glad to be given this opportunity by M-Sport so we want to make the most of it.”

Jari Huttunen, Mikko Lukka, M-Sport Ford WRT Ford Fiesta Rally2

Jari Huttunen, Mikko Lukka, M-Sport Ford WRT Ford Fiesta Rally2

Photo by: M-Sport

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener says the opportunity offers the team a chance to evaluate Huttunen in Rally1 machinery.

“I can’t wait to see Jari step up into Rally1 machinery and feel very proud that it will be in an M-Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1,” said Millener.

“We are promoting a new generation of cars this year as we embark upon WRC’s new hybrid era, it is therefore paramount that we provide opportunities to a new generation of drivers as well.

“This is something M-Sport prides itself on and has a long history of doing, and we saw recently with [team-mate] Pierre-Louis what fresh talent is capable of. Jari has followed a similar path to Pierre-Louis when you look at their results and I am sure everybody will be keeping a keen eye on Jari’s progress.

"From the team’s perspective there will be no goals or pressure, we simply want to see what Jari can do when given the tools and machinery. It will be a learning exercise more than anything.

"For Jari he will be starting to learn what it takes to be at the very top of the WRC, for us we will learn what we need to do to support and develop Jari to get him to the top level.”

Read Also:

In addition to M-Sport’s driver announcement, WRC rivals Hyundai announced today that it has extended its title sponsorship and technical partner agreement with Shell for a further three years.

Shell has partnered Hyundai since the South Korean marque rejoined the WRC in 2014.

shares
comments
Three brands evaluating future WRC move if rules are changed
Previous article

Three brands evaluating future WRC move if rules are changed

Next article

How the WRC captures its stunning visuals

How the WRC captures its stunning visuals
How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book Plus

How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book

At the tender age of 22, Kalle Rovanpera is redefining what’s possible to achieve in rallying and inspiring a new legion of fans as a result. The newly-crowned World Rally Championship title-winner and his peers reflect on his ability and the start of his success in the top tier

WRC
Nov 26, 2022
How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party Plus

How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

Thierry Neuville signed off the 2022 World Rally Championship season with his second win of the season in Japan after Toyota rival Elfyn Evans suffered a late puncture. With Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera also delayed by punctures and incidents, it opened the door for Neuville and Ott Tanak to record Hyundai's second 1-2 of the season in Toyota's own backyard

WRC
Nov 14, 2022
The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer Plus

The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer

Sebastien Ogier might be the outgoing World Rally champion, but it didn’t stop him reminding everyone of the skills that made him an eight-time world champion. As victory at Rally Spain led Toyota’s charge to a titles clean sweep, it did pose a question to newly-crowned champion Kalle Rovanpera which he could not answer

WRC
Oct 24, 2022
Autosport gets to grips as a WRC co-driver Plus

Autosport gets to grips as a WRC co-driver

The majority of headlines may focus on the exploits of drivers in the World Rally Championship, but the challenges facing their co-drivers are no less demanding. Autosport got in the passenger seat with Toyota Gazoo Racing to find out just what it takes to succeed

WRC
Oct 6, 2022
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Plus

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
Oct 3, 2022
How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career Plus

How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career

Motorsport can be brutal at times. One moment a driver can be the next big thing, but it can spiral in the other direction so quickly. Thankfully, sometimes drivers receive second chances. And Esapekka Lappi has taken his World Rally Championship lifeline in both hands

WRC
Sep 28, 2022
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Plus

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Plus

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022