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Kankkunen breaks ice-driving record

Juha Kankkunen: There's nothing to beat driving a Bentley at these speeds; the conditions may be perilous but the car responds so well to the slightest adjustment which gives you the confidence to push even harder.

Four-time World Rally champion, Juha Kankkunen set a brand new world record earlier this week with the Finn reaching 205.48 miles per hour on ice in a Bentley Continental Supersports convertible.

Kankkunen was in irresistible form with his all-wheel drive, 6-litre, 12-cylinder Continental Supersports convertible and managed to to shatter his own 2007 world ice speed record of 199.83 mph set in the Continental GT at the same location on the frozen Baltic Sea off Finland.

With the help of his own experienced team and Bentley engineers, Kankkunen overcame the challenges of temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees, sudden snow blizzards and potentially dangerous crosswinds on the 16.5km track on a 70cm-thick layer of sea ice. The record attempt was driven on a 1000m long measured distance with the speed certified by officials from the Finland Traffic Police.

His new world record was based on the average of two runs in opposite directions with measured speeds ratified by a representative of The Guinness Book of Records.

“The last time, I narrowly missed the magical 200 mph mark in a Continental GT. When I heard about the Supersports I was determined to go record breaking again with the Bentley Boys,” Kankkunen said.

“This time, with over 600bhp under the bonnet, a Quickshift transmission and the security of the all-wheel drive system, the Supersports convertible was the perfect car to go for the record.

“200mph came up after 5km on sheet ice. Then it was just a question of getting everything right in the timing zone and hoping the snow kept away.

“There's nothing to beat driving a Bentley at these speeds; the conditions may be perilous but the car responds so well to the slightest adjustment which gives you the confidence to push even harder.”

The car was standard apart from a welded-in roll cage, rear bumper-mounted parachute and a set of bespoke Pirelli Sotto Zero winter tyres to 275/40R20 specification.

In celebration of Kankkunen's achievement, 100 limited edition Supersports will now be made and shown for the first time at next month's Geneva Motorshow. They will be the most powerful Bentley road cars ever made.

“The ice speed record is an amazing feat by Juha Kankkunen, whose skill and courage in extreme conditions truly make him one of the modern-day Bentley Boys. We will be celebrating this achievement with a very special 'extreme' Bentley, which will be the most powerful model ever to bear the famed Winged B emblem,” confirmed Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley's new chairman and chief executive.



Related Pictures

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Juha Kankkunen en-route to setting a new world speed record on ice [Pic credit: Bentley]
Juha Kankkunen en-route to setting a new world speed record on ice [Pic credit: Bentley]
Juha Kankkunen en-route to setting a new world speed record on ice [Pic credit: Bentley]
Juha Kankkunen reacts after setting a new world speed record on ice [Pic credit: Bentley]

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