Belfast Telegraph

Cool Jukka Korhonen has proved he can handle heat on big stage

By Sammy Hamill

Jukka Korhonen beat the best of British (and Irish) to win the BRC championship last year and now he has stepped up to European level.

The Finn showed his calm composure as he won twice and then accumulated points with mature drives on the other rounds of the British series including taking second place on an Ulster Rally which saw several top contenders fall victim of the treacherous conditions.

This weekend Korhonen will be challenging for honours in the two-wheel-drive division in his Autosport Technology Citroen DS3 R3T.

He was the 2012 winner of the Pirelli Star Driver Award in the British series and, intriguingly, comes up against the current Pirelli Star, Daniel McKenna, in an all-Citroen duel on the Circuit.

The Finn has a great deal more experience than his young Irish rival who won the BRC's R2 (1600cc) division last year and is driving his prize DS3 for the first time this weekend.

Another Irish driver taking on the Europeans is Stephen Wright who followed McKenna as the winner of Motorsport Ireland's Billy Coleman Award.

He is competing in Belgium this year but is back home for the Circuit to test himself against a strong ERC Junior championship field – mostly driving 208 Peugeots – which includes the current front runners in the series Jan Cerny from the Czech Republic and Hungarian Zoltan Bessenyey.

Wright cruised to second in the Peugeot Trophy at the TAC Rally last weekend, losing out to one Circuit rival, Guillaume Dilley, but finishing in front of another in Gino Bux.

Also lining up in opposition to Wright will be London-born Pole Aleks Zawada who is now relishing the prospect of a taste of Irish tarmac and a chance to impress.

"Most of my experience is on tarmac as most rallies in Poland are on low-grip roads like you find in Ireland so I'm hoping for a good performance and result," he said.

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