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Rally Finland - preview - Pt. 1.

After a six week break, the Neste Oill Rally Finland heralds the return of the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship.

Victory in Finland, the sport's spiritual home, is one of rallying's most sought after achievements and the 'home' drivers have a distinct advantage on one of the most specialised events of the season.

Only six non-Finns have won the rally in 57 years, and huge crowds flock into the countryside amid the lakes and forests near the host town of Jyvaskyla to cheer on their fellow countrymen.

It is based on blisteringly fast roller-coaster gravel speed tests and drivers who grew up on this type of road have a clear advantage over 'outsiders' who require several years' experience before they can hope to challenge for a win. Rally Finland boasts five of the six fastest rallies in history, the 2005 round topping the all-time list at a remarkable average speed of 122.86kph.

The wide, hard roads are as smooth as a billiard table but technically it is an incredibly difficult rally. Precision driving and bravery are more important here than anywhere else. The awesome stomach-churning jumps frequently hide bends over the crest, so accuracy and delivery of pace notes must be exact and picking the right line before 'take-off' ensures maximum pace through the following curves.


Special notes:

Along with the Swedish Rally, Finland is one of the fastest of the year - a real gutsy challenge where the brave will top the timesheets.

Based from the town of Jyvaskyla, one of Finland's cultural hubs, the rally route winds through spruce forests archetypal of the region and skirts some of Finland's 60,000 mirror-smooth glacial lakes.

Serene as it sounds, the landscape is unforgiving and wayward cars stand little chance of dodging rocks and trees to rejoin the rally.

In contrast to the rough, rocky and inconsistent nature of both the Acropolis and Turkish rallies - the last two events - the smooth, fast and flowing characteristics of the '1000 Lakes' make it a maximum commitment and confidence rally.

Rather than an overriding onus on endurance and reliability as in recent rallies, Finland marks a return to flat-out no-compromise competition right from the start.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 07. Rally Finland, 2nd-5th August 2007.
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 07. Rally Finland, August 2-5 2007 [PIC CREDIT: Ford/worldralypics.com]
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MC), Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC. Rally Finland, 2nd-5th August 2007.
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Monza, [Credit: Hyundai Motorsport]
Podium 1st Australian - Molly Taylor (AUS) Bill Hayes (AUS) Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Podium, 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium, 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium - Volkswagen
Podium 1st Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2nd Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 3rd Thierry Neuville (BEL) Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Podium - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC

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