AUSTRALIAN driver Scott Pedder has finished fourth in the official standings for the WRC2 category at Neste Oil Rally Finland.
Pedder and co-driver Dale Moscatt reached the finish line yesterday in provisional fifth place but the subsequent exclusion of another competitor elevated the Ford Fiesta R5 pair to an unexpected fourth and their best-yet WRC result.
A technical review of the Citroen DS3 of Frenchman Stephane Lefebvre found it did not comply to the regulations and it was excluded.
“When I started this incredible event I imagined maybe if we had a good, clean run we could finish in the top eight,” Pedder said.
“So to finish fifth, then to learn you’ve finished fourth, is actually quite unbelievable.
“To be able to be near the pace of guys like Yurii Protasov, who has won rounds of the WRC2, and to be able to keep Anders Grondal behind us over the course of the weekend is hugely positive and reassuring.”
After 20 rollercoaster stages totalling more than 320 competitive kilometres, Pedder and Moscatt were thrilled by the support of Finnish fans.
“I just can’t get over how many of the locals have come up and told us what an impressive job we did this weekend. It means an incredible lot to me and Dale to have that sort of recognition as a first-timer at the event.”
With just two stages making up the final Leg Pedder, who had made further suspension changes to his Ford Fiesta R5 overnight, attacked the opening test and set the fourth fastest WRC2 time.
“It still wasn’t maximum attack but it was pretty close. The suspension changes we made really felt great, so it gave me the confidence to push harder,” Pedder said.
Pedder believes the suspension setup in his car played a massive part in his Finnish success.
“When I think back to the setup in the car back in Portugal, and compare it to what we’ve run this weekend, it’s hard to even recognise the two,” he said.
Rally Finland was the fourth and final WRC2 appearance Pedder had planned in Europe, although he admits he has left the option open to return towards the end of the season if budgets permit.
“The plan was always to contest Rally Australia too, our home round of the WRC. We’re just finalising our plans because it’s a long way from Europe to Australia to bring a car and team, but I’m very excited on the plans we’ve got and looking forward to making an announcement in the next week or so.
“Even though it’s our home rally I’m not expecting things to be any easier for us. I’m expecting guys like Nasser Al-Attiyah, Jari Ketomaa, maybe even Jarkko Nikara or Sander Parn to enter, and they’ve all done that rally as many times as I have so there really is no local advantage.”
WRC2 Rally Finland Results After Leg Three
- Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (Skoda Fabia R5) 2h40m15.0s
- Pontus Tidemand / Emil Axelsson (Skoda Fabia R5) +1m41.0s
- Yurii Protasov / Pavlo Cherepin (Ford Fiesta RRC) +4m58.3s
- Scott Pedder / Dale Moscatt (Ford Fiesta R5) +6m45.6s
- Anders Grondal / Roger Eilertsen (Citroen DS3 R5) +8m17.8s