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30.1.2019 - Mikko Eskelinen and Arto Kapanen retired two times in Arctic Lapland Rally - Frozen MAP-sensor and broken transmission forced the duo to retire

Season 2019 edition of traditional Arctic Lapland Rally was driven in very arctical, about -30 degrees and harsh conditions in surroundings of Rovaniemi, Arctic Circle. Due very cold weather the cars and the drivers faced freezing conditions to drive and therefore many competiror tackled with technical issues. One team was Mikko Eskelinen and his co-driver Arto Kapanen who retired the event because of technical problems.

After good pre-rally tests Eskelinen and Kapanen entered the event to challenge other racing drivers Valtteri Bottas and Mika Salo. Even they drove with old Mitsubishi Lancer WRC Step2 rally car they managed to get a good start for the rally as they could match their speed against Mika Salo, who drove with modern Skoda Fabia R5 car. Also Ford Fiesta RS WRC driver Valtteri Bottas was in their grasp. However in third stage of the rally a MAP-sensor froze up and engine misfired a lot. As there was still two stages to go before service, they decided to retire the event in safety reasons.

After retirement the service team replaced MAP-sensor with a new one and engine was in order again. However even due the retirement Mikko and Arto collect 15 minutes of penalty, they decided to continue the rally because it was fun to drive between high snow banks. However in the middle of the sixth stage it was game over again as transmission failed to work.

- We had carefully prepared the event as we headed the stages with high hopes. However we haven't competed with our old Mitsubishi Lancer WRC Step2 car in these very cold conditions and therefore we had no idea that MAP-sensor could freeze up. After our retirement our service crew noticed the problem and when they replaced that sensor, everything was working again, Eskelinen tells.

- On next day we restart the rally with Super Rally regulation and just drive for enjoyment. However after about 10 kilometres of the stage we started to hear loud noise from the transmission and we immediately knew that we had to retire. It was frustrating that we couldn't see our speed against Valtteri Bottas and Mika Salo. Maybe next time, Eskelinen shared his feelings.

Winner of Arctic Lapland Rally was Emil Lindholm, who made superb performance with new Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 rally car. After 10 special stages and approximately 241,11 special stage kilometres previous Finnish Rally Champions Teemu Asunmaa and Juha Salo lost the victory by 49,2 and 59,6 seconds. Valtteri Bottas was 5th fastest with Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Eskelinen gives a recognition for Bottas, who drove superb performance in his first-ever rally and did it with modern World Rally Car.

- Valtteri surprised everybody by showining a trouble-free and steady performance from the first stage on. He drove very maturally and improved his pace as the rally progressed. Also Mika Salo and his co-driver Peter Flythström was in similar racing mode as they finished the rally in 11th fastest. Lets' hope that both of these drivers continue their racing career in rally and I could have a re-run against these tarmac circuit drivers, Eskelinen tells.

- This was my only winter rally of the season as now I'm facing negoations for international circuit racing season. As a reigning Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Champion I'm having good opportunities on my desk and therefore my racing career will continue on tarmac surface, Eskelinen opens a bit his plans.

Final results Arctic Lapland Rally 2019, overal standings, top-5:
1. Emil Lindholm & Mikael Korhonen, Volkswagen Polo GTi R5, 1:58:54,0
2. Teemu Asunmaa & Jani Salo, Skoda Fabia R5, +49,2sec
3. Juha Salo & Topi Luhtinen, Skoda Fabia R5, +59,6sec
4. Henrik Pietarinen & Juha Lummaa, Skoda Fabia R5, +1:13,3sec
5. Valtteri Bottas & Timo Rautiainen, Ford Fiesta RS WRC, +1:59,2sec
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ret. Mikko Eskelinen & Arto Kapanen, technical problems, ss2 & ss6

Videos from the event:
Arctic Lapland Rally 2019 Tests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTIH3C1UaUY
Arctic Lapland Rally 2019 Tests Slowmotion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tu7xfUkvHI
Arctic Lapland Rally 2019 SS1: Aittajärvi: https://youtu.be/wSJSNCW8nFU
Arctic Lapland Rally 2019 SS2: Mäntyvaara #1: https://youtu.be/YvPm05nTgN8

Images from the event:

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Mikko Eskelisen kotisivut on suunnitellut ja toteuttanut MediaGuru Jack Bacon - Digitaalisen median tuotantostudio - www.mediaguru.fi