WRC heads to final gravel event of 2023
We travel to Rally Chile with renewed determination and the target of extending our podium streak to four-in-a-row.
“Despite taking on unknown terrain, we are hoping for a consistent run with the ultimate aim of bringing back a good haul of points from the podium places,” said Cyril, our Team Principal. “It is the type of surface we know our cars and crews can perform on.”
Manoeuvring through the mountains
The South American event’s smooth, cambered roads lie in and around the mountainous city of Concepción; closed forest stages present tight, technical sections, which contrast the ocean scenery of the open coastal roads that also feature on the itinerary.
This year’s event is only the second Rally Chile to ever be contested. All three drivers set to take on the 2023 edition in our i20 N Rally1 Hybrid – Thierry, EP and Teemu – competed at the only other running in 2019. Our trio of crew will therefore be hoping to harness their past experiences to produce a strong result this time around.
“Rally Chile has only been run once before and this time there are going to be a lot of new stages, so our previous experience does not help our preparations too much,” said Thierry. “Last time in Chile it was quite tough for me as I had a big crash, but we go back this year with the target of having a good rally and finishing the weekend on the podium.”
Our pair of Finnish crews may feel a bit more at home in Chile, with many drivers likening the profile of the event to that of Rally Finland.
“While there are some technical sections, overall the rally is quite fast, which reminds you of Estonia and Finland a bit,” explained Esapekka. “However, the grip level you get at those events is not there in Chile. It’s not the roughest rally, so we won’t have to think about saving the car too much, but we will need to have the confidence to be fast. As always, the goal is to finish on the podium.”
“Most of the stages at the event are new, so our preparations will be different,” elaborated Teemu. “The surface is quite smooth, so we won’t have to think as much about the car lasting well, we can just push it to the limit from start to finish. Our focus is purely on ourselves, trying to improve our pace from Finland and finish as high as possible.”
WRC2 crews return
Following a small break from the stages, our pair of WRC2 entries will be back in action at Rally Chile.
“A new event is always exciting and involves more preparations than rallies I’ve run before,” revealed Emil. “I think we should have a good package and I believe that with a consistent performance we should be able to score a podium.”
“For me, Rally Chile will be a special event as it is in my home continent: South America,” said Fabrizio. “Having a clean weekend and finishing towards the front of the field will be our target.”
Rally Chile will take place September 28 – October 1.