Hanninen ready for fight in Scotland
Defending IRC champion Juho Hanninen returns to action on Rally Scotland next week with the Finn expecting a tough battle in the Perthshire and Stirlingshire countryside.
Hanninen, who skipped the previous two rounds in Hungary and Italy, took victory in Scotland last season, and was triumphant on the gravel-based Sata Rallye Acores earlier this year.
And the SKODA Motorsport Fabia S2000 driver is looking forward to the challenge the upcoming race presents.
"Scotland is one of the best rallies we do," Hanninen said. "I love the way the stages flow over the crests, you carry good speed and the surface is always fine.
"It’s a big challenge and it will be a very big fight for victory, but it’s a great place for the fight."
Rally of Scotland’s stages are some of the fastest and most spectacular on the calendar. Winding their way through the picturesque Perthshire and Stirlingshire countryside in the centre of the country, the stages use mainly closed-forest roads with blind crests, climbs and descents, sharp drops, tight junctions, off-camber corners and tree-lined straights all in store for the bulging entry
The event gets underway with two runs through the Carron Valley stage on Friday night following the ceremonial start at Stirling Castle.
Carron Valley, which measures 8.36 kilometres in length, uses forest roads around Carron Reservoir close to Stirling and will provide an early test for the IRC crews, who will tackle the stage in the dark.
Saturday’s itinerary features three repeated stags in Perthshire: Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty.
The finishes of Craigvinean and Drummond Hill have both undergone minor changes for 2011 with the last two kilometres of Craigvinean featuring several high-speed crests, while the second Drummond Hill run will be held after dark.
The county of Stirlingshire will host Sunday’s action. Following a third visit to Carron Valley, competitors will tackle two runs of the Loch Chon and High Corrie stages, which include sections of the old Loch Ard test, before the event draws to a close at Scone Palace where two short stages will be held prior to the ceremonial finish.