Valtteri Bottas takes fifth, and stage win, on rally debut
Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas claimed fifth place, and a stage win, on his rally debut at the Arctic Rally in his native Finland on Saturday.
Bottas was equipped with a Ford Fiesta WRC similar in specification to those used by M-Sport’s World Rally Championship drivers, in a white-and-blue livery, and with his 'VB77' logo emblazoned on the car.
Bottas was competing against Finnish Rally Championship regulars who were using cars to WRC2 standard on the event, which took place in icy and snowy conditions.
Bottas finished the 10-stage rally just under two minutes behind winner Emil Lindhom
The Mercedes F1 regular set the quickest time on the eighth stage, the third run through the short Mantyvaara stage, finishing two seconds clear of Henrik Pietarinen, who beat him to fourth in the overall standings.
Bottas was co-driven by Timo Rautianen, who was alongside Marcus Gronholm for their WRC title triumphs in 2000 and 2002.
Bottas will remain with Mercedes for a third Formula 1 season this year as he bids to improve on a subdued 2018 campaign in which he classified a win-less fifth in the standings.