(WRC.com release, 7/7/2013) NESTE Oil Rally Finland has attracted the largest number of entries of any WRC round so far this season, with 101 cars on the list to start the event on 1 August.
There are 14 crews in the top-flight World Rally Car category and a comprehensive supporting cast including WRC2, WRC3 and Junior WRC drivers.
As well as the works team regulars, the seventh round of the season will feature a number of other World Rally Car drivers each out to prove themselves on the high-speed Finnish stages.
Finland’s Juho Hanninen returns to the championship in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC and is more than capable of challenging the factory team drivers on home ground.
Also hoping to put his local knowledge to good use is Jarkko Nikara, who will tackle the rally in a MINI WRC prepared by Prodrive.
British driver Kris Meeke has been drafted in to drive Khalid Al Qassimi’s DS3 World Rally Car for the Abu Dhabi Citroen World Rally Team. Sweden’s Per-Gunnar Andersson will drive a Ford Fiesta RS, while local driver Riku Tahko will be at the wheel of a Mini.
The WRC2 category has attracted 20 entries, including highly rated Finn Esapekka Lappi, who will drive a Skoda Fabia S2000.
After dominating the most recent round in Sardinia, Formula 1 star Robert Kubica returns in his Citroen DS3 RRC.
WRC2 will feature R5 specification cars for the first time, with five drivers, including Jari Ketomaa, Elfyn Evans and Eyvind Brynildsen, all running Ford Fiestas – the first of the new breed of cars to be homologated.
There are 11 drivers in the WRC3 class, all driving Citroen DS3 R3Ts as part of the Citroën Top Driver scheme.
The rally is the third round of the FIA Junior WRC and series leader Pontus Tidemand can expect some tough opposition from local drivers Andreas Amberg and Niko-Pekka Nieminen.