Nikara, a former Pirelli Star Driver, remains one of Finland’s most talented youngsters but continues to be dogged by funding issues. But after working non-stop for more than a month, he was able to secure a seat with the British Prodrive operation for the FIA World Rally Championship finale.
“It’s not been easy and I’ve worked very hard for the last month to find the budget,” said Nikara. “My sponsors have been very good and have helped me but I’ve sold names on my rally car for 100 Euros to private people and we even went to people in my village to collect metal that I’ve sold.”
Nikara has split his 2012 season between programmes in the British Rally Championship and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. He also tackled his home round of the WRC in August and topped Group N in 13th overall at the wheel of an ageing Mitsubishi Lancer.
“Of course this is a big opportunity and big challenge,” said the 26-year-old. “In my career I need to take the next step and try to show my talent in a proper rally car. I’ve been to Spain before [in 2009] although I don’t know the gravel stages. But gravel is where I am more confident although I like Tarmac too.”
Nikara isn’t setting any targets beyond reaching the finish, having only sampled his MINI at Prodrive’s private test track in the United Kingdom last week.
“We won’t drive the car on gravel until [free practice next week] but I don’t mind, I’m just very excited about this chance that I have.”