Neste Rally Finland
|Neste Rally Finland|
|Stages:||25 (315,63 km)|
- Smooth and blisteringly fast gravel roads, buried among Finland’s forests and lakes, are characterised by massive jumps.
- University town of Jyväskylä is the hub of everything and Paviljonki service park in the centre draws huge crowds.
- Rally starts on Thursday evening with Harju street stage in the town.
- Friday is a marathon with almost 16 hours at the wheel. Drivers head west for favourites such as Jukojärvi and Urria, before turning east to classics including Laukaa and Lankamaa.
- Saturday routes competitors south to Jämsä and the legendary Ouninpohja – Finland’s signature stage. Same tests as 2016, but mostly driven in the opposite direction.
- Sunday’s finale is a carbon copy of last year, heading south of Jyväskylä and east of Lake Päijänne.
- A mix of hard, wide roads with narrower more technical sections.
- Flat out from start to finish. It is affectionately known as the Finnish Grand Prix and nine of the 10 fastest WRC rallies have been here.
- Pace notes must be perfect. Blind crests often hide corners and it’s vital to position the car correctly before take-off to ensure maximum speed through the bend.
- Speeds are so high that time differences are small and there is little opportunity to regain time after a mistake.
- One of the hardest rallies for co-drivers as high speeds demand a constant, pinpoint accurate delivery of pace notes.
- Mastering the jumps. If the speed is too high, the car’s aerodynamics will force the back down and the front will rise. The tactic is to brake before take-off and accelerate full throttle over the jump.
- Gravel suspension.
- Packed gravel roads mean soft compound tyres are the usual choice, but hard compound rubber is also available.
- Super-smooth stages mean cars can be prepared in the knowledge that mechanical issues are rare.
- Dates back to 1951 when it was launched as a means of deciding the Finnish entries for Rallye Monte-Carlo.
- It took on the name 1000 Lakes Rally and was included in the calendar for the WRC in its first year in 1973.
- It has been dominated by Finnish drivers who have won 54 of the 66 editions. Top of the roll of honour are Hannu Mikkola and Marcus Grönholm with seven wins.
- The 2016 edition was the fastest rally in WRC history. Kris Meeke won at an average speed of 126.62kph.
What’s new for 2017
- Ouninpohja, Finland’s jewel in the crown, will be driven in its traditional direction, after being reversed in 2016.
- Saturday’s Pihlajakoski test will be driven in this shape for the first time ever.
- The party atmosphere. Jyväskylä is the ultimate rally town and no visit would be complete without a night out in one of the many bars in the main street. Drinks are not cheap though...
- Ouninpohja. Get up early and spend Saturday here, either at one of the many roller-coaster jumps or at the Kakaristo hairpin to enjoy great action and a brilliant atmosphere.