MacCrone set to fly in Finlandposted in WRC31 | 07 | 2012
SCOTS RALLY ACE John MacCrone heads into the third round of the World Rally Championship Academy, the high-speed Rally Finland, this week prepared for a demanding three days.
The 22-year-old from the Isle of Mull, who narrowly missed out on a podium finish last time out in Greece, where he finished fourth, admits Finland will be another tough test.
"It's a gravel event, but the surface and terrain is like nothing I've ever rallied on before," MacCrone, who will again drive his Ford Fiesta R2, backed by Palletforce and Tunnocks, said today.
"The roads are very enjoyable to drive on, but all the stages are dominated by what seems like a never-ending chain of high-speed crests.
"That makes it very challenging, because more often than not there's a direction change on the other side of the crest, so pacenotes, and speed, are crucial to get right."
MacCrone, who is partnered by 23-year-old Stuart Loudon from Glasgow in the Rally Team Scotland car, headed to Finland last week in order to carry out an intensive test session to prepare for the Finnish conditions.
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"It went very well, and was extremely helpful," MacCrone, who spent 40kms in a Fiesta R2 at the PrintSport rally school at Lievestuore under the watchful eyes of team boss Erro Raikkonen, continued.
"We learned a huge amount about the conditions we can expect to face when the rally starts on Thursday.
"Again, as was the case in Greece, it's crucial we get through Thursday and Friday unscathed, then we can put in a real push over the closing stages on Saturday.
"Most of the other guys in the WRC Academy have competed in Finland before, so we're up against it again, but if we can bag another top five finish, I'd be very happy."
After completing the two-day recce, MacCrone and Loudon — who are also backed by Musto, Bespoke Distribution Aviation, Glengorm Castle, S&S Joiners and TSL Contractors — will have a final test session in their car tomorrow.
After that they head to Paviljonki for the opening two stages on Thursday evening.
The crews face another nine gruelling stages on Friday, before the WRC Academy cars tackle the closing four stages on Saturday before finishing in Jyvaskyla.
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Caption: John MacCrone and co-driver Stuart Loudon in their Palletforce and Tunnocks-backed Ford Fiesta R2, in action during the Acropolis Rally in Greece in May.