Team MRF Tyres clinch third place at the Arctic Lapland Rally
Team MRF Tyres have been using national rallies in Europe to test and develop its ice and snow rally tyres for about a year now. The team is currently competing in the Finnish National Championship, and the Arctic Lapland Rally is one of its more popular and challenging rounds. With temperatures dipping to -8 degree Celsius on race day, the track was extremely slippery. However, Team MRF Tyres rose to the occasion with a strong performance. Emil Lindholm crossed the line in P3 in the Skoda Fabia evo Rally2 and Niclas Grönholm came in at P6 in the Volkswagen Polo GTi R5.
Since its inception in 1966, the Arctic Lapland Rally has become a favourite for many popular rally drivers and even non-rally drivers to display their skills. Some of the greatest F1 drivers have taken part in the past, like Kimi Raikonnen, Mika Salo and Mika Hakkinen. This year, Valtteri Bottas was among the competitors and finished in sixth place, his third consecutive top ten finish. Owing to its growing popularity, the Lapland Rally has been added to the WRC calendar in 2021, as a replacement to Rally of Sweden.
Back to Team MRF Tyres — in the overall rankings, Emil Lindholm clocked a time of 01:46:30, just 34 seconds behind Teemu Asunmaa, the class winner. Lindholm recorded an average speed of 132kmph as well.
The weather was unpredictable through the rally, and that made it all the more challenging for the drivers. In fact it was so tough that, out of 95 participants, 33 competitors either crashed out or had to retire due to mechanical issues.
After finishing third, Emil Lindholm said, “This is one of the great rallies in Europe. The Arctic Lapland Rally is one of the most traditional winter rallies in the rally world, and to achieve a podium place is an amazing achievement. The MRF snow and ice tyres worked perfectly in the long freezing stages which featured a lot of snow and ice. The weather on the route continued to change and it was hard to predict. Sometimes there was more snow on the road, sometimes it was just a heavy ice base. It made a fast rally even more challenging.”
The other MRF Tyres crew of Niclas Grönholm and co-driver Antti Linnaketo took sixth position in the Volkswagen Polo GTi R5. Niclas said, “It is great to have 2 cars with MRF Tyres inside the top 10. We were trying to find the right setup and gain more pace. Today the car felt better. The stages were in good conditions but there was a lot of loose snow and it was very challenging. Overall, we are happy!”
Finishing on the podium at the Arctic Lapland Rally is no small feat in itself, but for MRF — a team that is still developing its snow and ice tyres — it is an exceptional milestone. And with both cars finishing in the top ten, MRF has proven that their tyres are also consistent and reliable. We cannot wait to see them make a mark on more rally stages around the world!