Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Korhonen breaks Irish dominance

Alastair Fisher came home fourth
Alastair Fisher came home fourth

He had won the first round of the British rally championship but that was on the gravel stages of the Pirelli International where a Finn like Jukka Korhonen can be expected to excel.

 

The Jim Clark Memorial Rally on the tricky tarmac roads of the Scottish borders would be a different story. This, after all, is a rally where the Irish have dominated for more than a decade.

But Korhonen proved everyone wrong. It may only have been his third event on what he describes as his “least favourite surface” but the 29-year-old Finn led from start to finish in his DS3 Citroen run by the same English Autosport Technology team behind Keith Cronin’s British title success last season.

Yes, Irish drivers filled four of the top 10 places, but Alastair Fisher was the best of them in a disappointing fourth place and even he had no answer to the pace of Korhonen or the Welsh duo of Tom Cave and Osian Pryce.

Fisher had been second at the end of the first leg on Friday night, but already 38 seconds down on Korhonen, and the expected acceleration from him or the likes of Mark Donnelly, Jonny Greer and Desi Henry never materialised.

Instead, as all of them struggled with varying issues with their turbocharged Citroens, it was Cave and Pryce who raised their game and when the Finn spun his DS3.

But over the 11 miles of Swinton it was Korhonen who held his nerve, securing the victory by two seconds quicker from Cave. Pryce was a further 10 seconds back in third with Fisher finishing 27 seconds off the lead.

Korhonen already has a 17-point lead over Cave in the BRC series with Fisher third, 20 points back.

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