Neste Oil Rally Finland

28th July 2011 - 31st July 2011

Neste Oil Rally Finland
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Neste Oil Rally Finland

WRC Academy: Round 3

Based: Jyvaskyla

Surface: Gravel


WRC Finland marks the midpoint of the season and the third gravel event in a row. It will also mark Craig third visit to Jyvaskyla. Last season he debuted his Fiesta S2000 on the world stage on the event and finished 17th overall.

Known affectionately as the Finnish Grand Prix, the rally turns the student city of Jyvaskyla into a motorsport Mecca on the last weekend of July as fans converge in their tens of thousands to savour the dramatic action on the compacted gravel stages and lap up the party atmosphere.

You need courage but the pacenotes have to be perfect because they tell you where to place the car on the road before taking off flat-out over a blind crest. You have to have maximum trust and faith in your co-driver.

Event Updates

  • Kaur takes it by 2.6 sec

    After a rally long battle in Finland, Craig Breen suffered defeat to Estonian Driver Egon Kaur by 2.6 seconds. The pair were neck and neck all day yesterday (Friday) and today over the Saturday stages. Breen held a 2.3 second lead at midday service.

    On the penultimate test Kaur edged back in front 0.3 beating Craig by 2.6 sec over the 21.6 km Leustu test. Then on the final stage Kaur pulled out another 2.3 sec to take victory 2.6

    Afterwards Craig stated “I tried my very best, it was a great fight with Egon. We still have a good points haul coming a way from this weekend. We’re back to tarmac for the next round in Germany in a few weeks time so lets concentrate on that now.”

    It’s back to the black stuff for Craig’s next event in the WRC Academy for World Rally Deutschland in three weeks time.
  • Another 1.1 sec gained

    Craig sets 2:51.3 for the 4.85km 16th stage and Egon is +1.1

    Two mouth watering stages remain as the cars enter service

    We'll get Craig's reaction soon
  • Tit for tat continues

    What ever you can do, I can do better, looks to be the attitude between Craig and Egon as the battle rages on.

    Craig edges the Estonian driver on SS15 by 1.5 and now leads by 1.2
  • More Drama on SS14

    Kaur 0.3 in front again as Craig has to stop on the scene of another accident.

    4 stages to go.....
  • Breen hits back on SS13

    Craig slams in a fastest time on SS13 and takes 8.9 seconds on Egon Kaur.

    Craig is leading now by 8.1 seconds
  • Tension building on SS 12

    On the first stage this morning Egon Kaur regained the lead taking 3.2 seconds from Craig over the 21.35km's of the Leustu test.

    The difference between the two now is +0.8

    So on to stage 13 Surkee (14.66km) next. We should have times in just after 9.00hrs (Irish Time)

    Behind Craig, Brendan Reeves has had a problem in that 12th stage, losing over three minutes. This has elevated Timo Van Der Marel into third place +2:21.9 behind the top two.

    Looking at the Rally overall, The top contenders are after completing stage 14 and S.Loeb has extended his overnight lead to 10.6 sec over S.Ogier and J.Latvala is now 6.8 behind Ogier in third.
  • Saturday Stage Schedule

    After two tough days Craig holds a narrow 2.4 second lead over current championship leader Egon Kaur but Craig knows the rally is far from over and there's 89kms still to cover before the Irish driver can claim his first victory in the WRC Academy.

    The final day's action for the Academy crews is made up of seven stages. The opening Saturday loop is the hardest as it covers five consecutive tests.

    SS12: Leustu 1 21.35km start time 7:58hrs.
    SS13: Surkee 1 14.66km start time 9:00hrs.
    SS14: Urria 1 12.75km start time 9:55hrs.
    SS15: Jukojärvi 1 14.32km start time 10:58hrs.
    SS16: Isojärvi 1 4.85km start time 11:23hrs.


    SS17: Leustu 2 21.35km start time 13:55hrs.
    SS18: Surkee 2 14.66km start time 14:57hrs.

    Start Times shown here are all EEST
  • Craig hits the front

    On the final stage of the day, Craig has taken over the lead in the Academy. Craig set a time of 6:31.6, with Brendan Reeves +6.5 and more importantly Egon Kaur was +8.9

    Craig now hits the front for the first time and has a narrow lead of +2.4 over Egon, with Breadan +1:12.4

    Craig is just back into service and stated "This afternoon's tests were our first clear runs and we were able to push on. We have two fastest stage times under our belt and have a narrow lead but tomorrow is a tough day"

    We will look ahead to tomorrow's scheduled 11 stages before the action gets underway in the morning.
  • No change on SS 10

    There was no change on the short stage 10 Super Special Jokimaa(2km).

    The top three times are just in and B.Reeves was the fastest todate with 1:45.5, E.Kaur was +0.2 and Craig was +0.3

    E.Kaur hold a 6.5 sec lead going into the final stage of today. That stage is 12.07km and is due to start in 15 minutes.

    We'll have times when they become available and news from Craig later
  • Craig narrows the Gap on SS9

    Craig and Egan Kaur look to be in a class of their own now as they both pull away from the field. Craig punched in his first fastest time of the weekend by taking stage 9 by 9.4 from Egan. The gap is now down to 6.4 second, with B. Reeves +1:12.6 in third
  • High Speeds on SS 8

    On Stage 8, Craig was +3.7 sec on down on E.Kaur on the stage and the gap is 15.8 with B.Reeves +53.2 in third
  • Alot of action on SS7

    There was a big shake up on SS 7. Rally leader Alastair Fisher rolled on the stage and from the timesheets he dropped 3:17.5 on the stage. It is not yet known if he will be able to continue. Craig had a spin on the test and now the leaderboard looks like:

    1. E. KAUR 1:05:55.2
    2. C. BREEN +12.1
    3. B. REEVES +44.6
    4. T. VAN DER MAREL +59.2
    5. A. CRUGNOLA +1:00.1

    Stage 8 is now live and the Academy crews are due into the stage soon.
  • Midday Service

    Reports from service and the Breen camp is that Finland make the best cakes ever, particularly when their filled with strawberries and cream
  • Up to second on SS 6

    Craig had a cracking time on SS6 Hyväneula 1(29.9km) just 3.7 behind Alastair Fisher. The down side was that Craig had to stop at the scene of Victor Henriksson's accident.

    The up side is that Craig is up to second overall, 28 seconds down on Alastair Fisher.

    Craig is currently in midday service and is hoping for a clean run over the five afternoon's stages.
  • Cautious approach on SS5

    Craig took a cautious approach over stage 5 just to make sure all was ok with the car. He is now hoping for a clean run over the remainder of the event.

    SS 6 comes next and we'll have stage times and news as it becomes available
  • SS 5 Academy top 3

    SS 5 EVO (8.9km) top 3 times todate

    1. Fisher fastest with a time of 5:40.1
    2. Kaur + 0.7
    3. Breen + 1.06
  • SS 4 Cancelled

    The opening stage this morning has been cancelled for the Academy crews. This cuts down the milage on Craig as he fights to claim beck time, it also cuts out another stage that he could have claimed a fastest time on.
    More news from SS5 when it goes live for the Academy R2's
  • Friday morning update

    Good morning everyone,
    The action is underway here in Finland with stage 4 now live. Overnight Craig held third overall in the Academy but over the opening three stage yesterday Craig had to deal with a problem at the rear of the car.
    This was diagnosed to be the rear beam flexing and making the R2 unstable. In total the Waterford driver has a 22 sec deficit on Alastair Fisher.
    8 stages make up the Friday schedule, the first of which is currently live. The WRC contenders are already through the stage and the Academy crews will begin to enter the test within the next few minutes.
    more news later
  • 3rd after Day 1

    Craig finishes the opening day in Finland in 3rd place overall. On the final stage this evening the Waterford driver claimed 4th fastest on SS3 and climbed into the top 3 overnight.
    Top 5 Overall
    1.A. FISHER 23:09.5
    2.V. HENRIKSSON 23:29.7
    3.C. BREEN 23:32.2
    4.E. KAUR 23:33.4
    5.B. REEVES 23:33.5
    Day 2 - Itinerary
    SS4 Hassi 20.35km 9:00hrs
    SS5 Evo 8.9km 11:03hrs
    SS6 Hyväneula 1 29.9km 11:53hrs
    SS7 Koukunmaa 13.68km 14:59hrs
    SS8 Koivukehä 17.8km 15:37hrs
    SS9 Hyväneula 2 29.9km 16:20hrs
    SS10 Jokimaa 2km 18:00
    SS11 Mynnilä 12.07km 19:46hrs
  • Craig up to 4th after SS2

    Craig was third fastest on SS 2 and gained a place overall to hold 4th.
    One more stage this evening, Laajavuori 1 at 4.19km. The stage is currently live and the academy times are due in soon
  • Times for SS 1

    Craig slotted in at 5th after the Lankamaa (23.76km)stage. He was 13 sec off the leading driver Alastair Fisher
    Top 5.
    1.A.FISHER 13:27.8
    2.E.KAUR 13:28.6
    3.V.HENRIKSSON 13:29.7
    4.B.REEVES 13:38.2 5.C.BREEN 13:41.2
  • SS 1 is now Live

    Stage 1 is now live and the weather is hot for day 1, it's currently 26 ° C around Jyvasala and clear skies.
    Of the WRC crews, Mikko looks to have dropped time with a break problem. The Academy crew still to enter the stage
  • Day 1 Start List

    Thursday Start List:
  • Looking ahead to Day 1

    The action gets underway way at 17.13 hrs (EEST) 15.13 hrs Irish time and takes in three stages.
    SS 1: Lankamaa - 23.76km -17.13hrs
    SS2:  Laukaa - 11.79km -18:16hrs
    SS3 Laajavuori 1 - 4.19- 20:00hrs
  • Academy WRC Finland Test

    WRC Academy Rally Finland Test Session:
  • Important Web Links

    Event Website: Itinerary: Starters List: Stage Times:
  • Academy WRC Finland

    Event Preview from
  • Busy 3 days in Finland

    The rally action starts tomorrow evening but already it's been a busy three days for Craig in Finland. On Monday started with Academy first aid training, then a guest lecturer from Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team driver Mikko Hirvonen and the day was rounded off with the first session of recce. There was a full day of recce on Tuesday and it was completed today and Wednesday saw the drivers get their first taste of the famous Finland roads as they held a test session. 
  • Recce day 3

    Final day of note making for Craig today.
  • Long Day of Recce

    Craig & Gareth were looking very eager this morning as they started day two of recce for WRC Finland. Craig was first of the Academy crews queuing to enter the stages. Over 850Km of driving lie in wait, of which over 200 are stages.

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