28 - 30 Jul 11
Categories:WRC, SWRC, PWRC, WRC Academy
Most Recent Winner:Sebastien Loeb (2011)
Sisu is a Finnish word that loosely translates into English as ‘having guts’. On the flat-out, tree-lined straights, endless yumps and blind crests of Neste Oil Rally Finland, drivers will need plenty of ‘sisu’ if they are to stand a chance of winning one of the World Rally Championship’s most famous events.
Known affectionately as the Finnish Grand Prix, the rally turns the student city of Jyvaskyla into a motorsport Mecca on the last weekend of July as fans converge in their tens of thousands to savour the dramatic action on the compacted gravel stages and lap up the party atmosphere.
Few non-Finns have triumphed on the event due to the specialist nature of the stages with their endless series of twists, corners and jumps. Marcus Gronholm, a seven-time Neste Oil Rally Finland winner, famously said: “You need courage but the pacenotes have to be perfect because they tell you where to place the car on the road before taking off flat-out over a blind crest. You have to have maximum trust and faith in your co-driver.”
When multiple world champion Sebastien Loeb won the event for the first and only time in 2008, he said had never taken such huge risks to defeat Mikko Hirvonen and revealed prior to the 2010 rally that he would never do so again.
Neste Oil Rally Finland will again stick to its successful compact format trialled for the first time last year. But while the Saturday night finish remains Thursday will include more special stages - with 39km of stage distance squeezed in after a 1600hrs start.
Several changes are being planned for this year’s 61st anniversary of the rally, including a remote service and super special stage in Lahti on Friday and no fewer than six brand new stages.