Markko Martin last year became one of only three non-Finnish drivers to win the arduous Rally of Finland... Will the Ford star, who crashed heavily in Argentina, be a factor this weekend?

Markko Martin last year became one of only three non-Finnish drivers to win the arduous Rally of Finland... Will the Ford star, who crashed heavily in Argentina, be a factor this weekend?


The highly-rated Estonian driver will need to repeat last year's Neste Rally Finland victory on this year's event to give his ailing World Rally Championship title hopes a major boost.


Martin pipped the Subaru of eventual world champion Petter Solberg and the Peugeot of fast gravel event specialist Richard Burns to victory in Finland last year. But the Ford driver on Monday admitted that his prospects of a repeat victory this weekend have been dampened following his 170-km/h accident in the recent Rally of Argentina, from which he's still recovering.


Martin joined team-mates Francois Duval and Janne Tuohino for testing during last week, but he missed last weekend's warm-up event, the Pirelli Rally, to ensure he would be fully recovered for the rally on Thursday.


"We won the event last year, so if anything we're under less pressure this year," he said. "We'll just go and do be the best job that we can for us and for the team. Torrential rain was creating rivers through our test stage on Wednesday, so we had to cancel it, but we drove for 230 km on Thursday.


"I've been suffering from some blurred vision since Argentina, but it's improving every day. It may be a bit difficult on the first run through the stages, when you have to judge braking distances, but I'm sure we'll be on the pace," he added.