Estonia’s Ken Torn leads the way at Rally Finland – holding a 21.7 second lead over Sweden’s Emil Bergkvist in what looks set to be an epic battle for victory.

It was the Estonian who claimed the first championship point when piloting his Pirelli-shod one-litre EcoBoost Ford Fiesta R2 to the fastest time through Thursday’s opening super special. But when the action hit the forests Bergkvist soon fought back – six stage wins allowing him to establish a 16.8 second lead.

There was misfortune for Emilio Fernández and Umberto Accornero who both went off the road through the first pass of Ässämäki (SS4). Accornero was able to rejoin the day’s action, but Fernández wasn’t as lucky and will return under Rally 2 regulations today.

The biggest drama however came on SS5 when championship-leader Dennis Rådström sent his Fiesta backwards into the trees. With the high-speed impact causing too much damage, Rådström will not restart and the championship has been flung wide open.

This year’s AKK Future Rally Star of Finland, Henri Hokkala, had also shown some impressive speed. Making his debut in the FIA World Rally Championship, the young Finn set two fastest stage times (SS5 and SS6) and was running in podium position before rolling his Fiesta on the second pass of Moksi (SS7). Like Rådström, he will not restart today.

Hokkala’s demise promoted Terry Folb and Jean-Baptiste Franceschi into a fight for the final podium positions, and there was more late drama when Bergkvist picked up a puncture on the second pass of Ässämäki (SS9) – dropping him 20 seconds adrift of the lead he’d held for the first seven stages of the day.

Julius Tannert rounds off the top-five after a puncture on SS9 dropped Callum Devine behind the German and into sixth place. Luca Bottarelli is seventh ahead of David Holder, Tom Williams, Bugra Banaz, Enrico Oldrati and the lucky Accornero.

Ken Torn (1st) said:

“We had a good fight with Emil, but he got a puncture so now we are leading. I want to have a good run tomorrow, but I am sure Emil will be pushing hard.”

Emil Bergkvist (2nd) said:

“In one way it was a good afternoon, but we got a puncture and lost about 40 seconds. There is still a long way to go and I will not give up.”

Terry Folb (3rd) said:

“It was really difficult for us behind the WRC and R5 cars as the ruts are so deep with lots of stones. But it’s still been an enjoyable day and it’s been a good afternoon for us.”



1. Ken Torn / Kuldar Sikk 1:15:33.8
2. Emil Bergkvist / Joakim Sjöberg +21.7
3. Terry Folb / Kevin Bronner +41.8
4. Jean-Baptiste Franceschi / Romain Courbon +46.1
5. Julius Tannert / Jürgen Heigl +1:49.7
6. Callum Devine / Brian Hoy +2:22.4
7. Luca Bottarelli / Manuel Fenoli +3:03.7
8. David Holder / Jason Farmer +4:02.2
9. Tom Williams / Phil Hall +4:39.2
10. Bugra Banaz / Burak Erdener +4:54.9
11. Enrico Oldrati / Danilo Fappani +6:53.6
12. Umberto Accornero / Barone Maurizio +7:24.0
13. Emilio Fernández / Joaquin Riquelme +1:16:22.5