After the top two cars went off track into retirement on day two, the no4 Audi Quattro of Finland’s Antero Laine and Topi Luhtinen won the 2019 Lahti Historic Rally with the no7 Toyota Starlet 1300 of Esa Peltonen and Jyrki Saarto in second place and the first EHSRC home. The Toyota was 1m03.5s behind the Audi and 9.9 seconds ahead of the no2 Audi Quattro of ‘Zippo’ and Nicola Arena, the Italians finishing 3rd overall.
Category 4: Will Graham Takes Win on Lahti Debut
The no14 BMW M3 of Will Graham and Michael Johnston took the Category 4 victory on their Lahti Historic Rally debut, finishing 6th overall. The British crew kept their car on the road to finish all six special stages on Day 2 and finish 25.7 seconds ahead of the rest of the field led by the no17 Toyota Corolla of Ari Kirvesmaki.
Overnight leader Ville Silvasti held his lead on the first two stages of the day in the no5 Audi Quattro A2, keeping ahead of fellow Finn Jari Kankaanmaki in the no1 Volvo 242. However disaster struck on SS9 when both cars went off the road in separate incidents, with Silvesti’s Audi rolling. Both crews were unharmed in the incidents but it meant their rally was over.
One stage later the no6 Toyota Celica of Jari Latvala was another retirement after the Finn also went off road.
A maximum 20 championship points puts Will Graham second in the points table on 72, just 1 point behind leading driver ‘Lucky’.
Category 3: Maximum Points for Peltonen and Saarto on Home Event
Antero Laine took the overall victory on the 2019 Lahti Historic Rally, moving into the lead after the demise of Ville Silvesti’s Audi and Jari Kankaanmaki’s Volvo on Stage 9. While the Finn took the rally win, it was Esa Peltonen’s Toyota that finished as the top EHSRC entry, just ahead of the no2 Audi of Italian driver ‘Zippo’.
The no12 Ford Escort RS of Tommi Hannuksela and the no8 VW Golf GTI of Janne Lindberg rounded out the top 5 finishers at the end of a gruelling day of rallying.
Esa Peltonen took maximum points to take the lead in the Category 3 Drivers Championship, the Finn on 78 points, six ahead of ‘Zippo’ on 72 points.
Category 2: Johnsen Out of Luck Again
Anders Johnsen’s run of bad luck while leading a rally continued in Finland as the Swede’s day ended on SS9 when the Porsche Carrera RSR went off road. The Category 2 victory went to the no23 Ford Escort RS1600 of Vesa Rissanen.
The top EHSRC entry to finish the rally was the no51 Vaz 2101 of Villu Mattik and Arvo Maslenikov , the Estonian’s finishing 10m36.3s behind the no23 Ford. Championship leader Carlo Mylle extended his lead despite a bad day for the Belgian crew.
The Porsche had an accident on SS9 and Mylle had to limp to the end of the stage to conduct repairs by the road side. They managed to carry out the repairs and get the car to the service area before continuing to complete the final three stages of the day at the back of the field. However the finish gave Carlo Mylle 18 valuable points and extends his championship lead over Paolo Pasutti, the Italian not competing in Finland.
Category 1: Graham Family Joy
While Will Graham celebrated his Category 4 victory, Mum and Dad were also celebrating taking another Category 1 victory. Ernie and Karen Graham built on their overnight lead in the no21 Ford Escort Twin Cam to finish the Lahti Historic Rally 6m32.5s ahead of the no44 BMW 2002 TI of Finland’s Elias Kivitila and Timo Tuominen.
It was another BMW 2002 TI in third place with Sverre Norrgard and Ari Koponen finishing the day 16 minutes behind the Ford and 1m46 ahead of James Calvert and Jame O’Brien in the Ford Consul Cortina Lotus.
Victory for Ernie Graham has closed the gap to championship leader Antonio Parisi, with both drivers on 89 points in the championship race with three events still to be run.
CLICK HERE for the provisional results from the Lahti Historic Rally, Round 6 of the 2019 FIA European Historic Sporting rally Championship.
Round 7 of the FIA EHSRC is the Rally Alpi Orientali Historic in Italy on the 30/31 August