Here, in her own words, is how she got on.
18 September 2011.
“Hello! My first rally was in March 2009 and from this day on I was infected with the rallye-bug. It’s not only a hobby for me, it’s become a passion too. If I am not on a rally, I work as a nurse in a hospital.
“I arrived in Trier yesterday to work with the WRC Academy at ADAC Rallye Deutschland. I was really nervous before I got here. I’ve known since the beginning of the year that I would be working here, so I’ve been practising my English now for over six months! The best way to learn a language though is to talk to people in it, so now I have a great opportunity! I hope to learn a lot to use towards my work as a co-driver.
“On Wednesday I met a lot of the people I will be working with this week. I am working most closely with the WRC Academy Communications Officer. She showed me where I could find everything in the service area and everyone was very welcoming, which meant I didn’t feel nervous for long.
“After this I had to handle some organisational matters. Wednesday afternoon some training sessions took place. The WRC Academy is like a school. All the drivers and co-drivers are there and were instructed by various experts. This started with [photographer] Colin McMaster and [world rally radio host] Becs Williams who told them how to handle media interviews and press conferences. After this, Mark Arnall, Kimi Raikkonen’s fitness trainer taught them about sports and nutrition. Everyone had great fun joining in the sports exercises. I found it very interesting too; I think it’s a good way to train the crews.
“On Thursday i started with some organisational activities again. After that, the WRC Academy Class was back in the classroom and learning about tyre performance. And after lunchtime I accompanied SWRC drivers Nasser Al-Attiyah and Hermann Gassner Jnr to the FIA Pre-event Press Conference and I then had the opportunity to watch the conference myself, which was very exciting. After the autograph signing session in the afternoon, I checked all the cameras inside the WRC Academy rally cars. Between my tasks I had the chance to chat to some drivers and especially co-drivers, to get advice on how they do their work and if I could learn something new.
“Now I’m tired, but very happy and looking forward to the rest of the event. Tomorrow the rally itself kicks off, I can’t wait.”
“So here I am again on my fourth day at ADAC Rallye Deutschland to tell you some more about my experiences. The last two days have been very exciting for me because I had to do interviews with the SWRC and the WRC Academy drivers after the stages. I had already considered what questions I would ask the drivers. You must be very careful to ask the right questions so that you get all the information you need. For example I asked the crews, how they’d found the stages, if they had any problems and whether they were satisfied with their set-up and tyres.
“Sometimes I would ask them if they were happy with their pace notes, if everything was correct. This was particularly interesting for me because I’m a co-driver. Another job on both days was to be the camera [wo]man. I was responsible for all the onboard cameras in the WRC Academy Fiestas. I had to check the cameras before the teams started on Friday. Then when they arrived in the last service in the evening I took all the memory cards out of the cameras and changed them for new cards for the next day. This was a very stressful job, due to the time limit on the service and all the mechanics working on the cars at the same time.
“On Saturday morning I arrived at 7am and saved all the Day One onboard camera footage to DVDs, while we were waiting for the rally cars to leave. As soon as the first SWRC driver got back to service, we began our cycle of interviews again, asking them how the second day had started. After this I was back on collection duty, hurrying to grab all the memory cards from the cars so that the crews could receive their onboard camera footage at their Sunday morning debrief and review it at home before the next even in France. Today we’ll find out who will win the WRC Academy. Tomorrow only the WRC, SWRC and some national cars will start. And we have to take care of the SWRC drivers and co-drivers.
“I’ll wait now until I can hear the noise of the first WRC car, when it arrives here in the service area and then it’s all systems are go!”
Here Jenni tells us how she got on:
Day one. 28 September 2011.
“Greetings from Jyväskylä and Neste Oil Rally Finland! My name is Jenni Krohn and I’m a Finnish circuit racer. I started driving when I was six and I have been racing at international and national levels in go-karts, formula cars and saloon racing cars.
“At the moment I am studying at Metropolia University of Applien Sciences. I will complete my degree in automotive electronics engineering in 2012. I have been part of the Formula Student -project since 2008 - I used to be electrics manager and at the moment I am Team manager.
“Every summer has been really busy since I was a child because of motor racing so this is my first opportunity to see Finland’s biggest rally event. This is also the first time I will get the opportunity to work officially helping drivers, co-drivers and teams. So far I have met a lot of new people and I have seen where the rally takes place - or at least the base!
“I started my first rally day meeting the people with whom I will work here. Since then it’s been running from place to place, which has been great fun! We took the WRC Academy season photograph at Korpilahti and after that we took care of the media coverage while the WRC Academy drivers tested.
“Today the WRC Academy Class of 2011 had a signing session at the Family World in the Paviljonki and they drove RC -cars against local children. The drivers also did interviews and had important meetings with sponsors. Before the event drivers and co-drivers also had First Aid training; what to do if you have an accident and need to revive your crewmate. I think it is an important reminder for the young drivers and that we should have the same kind of system in Finland.
“The WRC Academy is the opportunity of a lifetime for talented young drivers. For me it looks like they are having great fun together and they are learning things together. It is great to see that the right people are working on such an important project to help young promising drivers make the most of their natural ability. The WRC Academy is great place for gifted young driver and they get a really good education and introduction to the motorsport world.”
Day two. 29 September 2011.
“Neste Oil Rally Finland is half way through. The Finnish people are excited about the big rally weekend and they are travelling all over Finland to see the cars and drivers. For Finnish people rally is a big get together and a great opportunity to spend time with a family and friends.
“Comparing rally to circuit racing, I think rally is more interesting to the public because the event happens in many different places around the county instead of just in one place like circuit races.
“Today the service crews have also travelling around Finland to refuel zones and remote service in Lahti, following the rally and trying to make sure they are in the right place at the right time. The whole weekend they - and we - are fighting against the clock to make sure we can keep up with the drivers: the drivers are in control on the stages, but in between the crews must look after them and make sure everything is ok. To do that they must be able to keep up - and their cars aren’t as powerful!
“One positive surprise of the weekend was that I had the chance to do some journalism work. We were interviewing drivers after the stages. It’s been great fun and it’s provided me with great experience for the type of work I would like to do in the future.”
"Hi everyone. My name is Daniela Rodrigues and I am a young female rally driver in Portugal. This week I am working with the new FIA WRC Academy to get a feel for the world of WRC and to learn as much as possible and I try to prepare for a career in rallying.
So far the experience has been extremely gratifying and rewarding, because I am working as part of a very professional structure. Everything moves very quickly, but I've learned a lot.
The WRC Academy is a fantastic ‘school’ for young drivers. The program is very full, but very united - everyone works and learns together, so I’m very proud to be a part of it at the first round! Obviously, my dream is to be part of one of the crews in future and drive in the Ford Fiesta R2 in a program like this. For now it’s not possible for me, but every day as I learn more I feel it helps me understand what I need to do in future and how you need to work in the world of WRC. It is especially interesting to see it from the ‘other side’ (not behind a steering wheel).
Before I had no idea of the amount of tasks that need to be done to make everything run smoothly. Yesterday for example, there was a long drive to Lisbon early in the morning and before we began the WRC Academy activities we had to create the PWRC season photo, so I also got to meet the Group N drivers, who are one stage further in their rallying career than the WRC Academy teams.
We then had to hurry back to the Cultural Centre and prepare the drivers for the FIA Pre-event Press Conference, organising season headshots for all the crews and working on the launch left us very busy, but under pressure you learn quickly and now I feel I would be comfortable with working like this again. It is amazing what takes place to create a project of this size.
To make this possible you need a lot of people working together and everyone with a lot of passion behind the project. The atmosphere here is great and now I share in their enthusiasm. I am completely certain that the WRC Academy is the best place for drivers to launch their worldwide careers!
I was also quite surprised by and have learnt from the attitude of the young drivers, who see this opportunity in the motorsport world with professionalism, despite the competitiveness, while also managing to be friends and having fun. It’s already been a real learning moment for me and yet the WRC Academy rally proper only started half an hour ago! Success I can see now is a mixture of talent and attitude. I hope to continue to learn how to mix these two things over the two days of WRC Academy competition. Ok, I’m off to see how the crews are doing and will write again soon. Enjoy the rally!"
Kimi sent this second update at the end of Saturday’s competition.
Blog two: Saturday 13 November, 2100hrs.
“Well, here we are. I never thought that I would be so pleased to see Cardiff again. But there are two reasons to be happy. Firstly, it’s stopped raining. Secondly, we’ve had a really good day.
The first day of the rally on Friday was a little bit of a shock, because while I expected it to be difficult, I didn’t expect it to be that difficult. I thought that it might be because of the rain but today was a lot drier and it was still slippery. So it must be just how these roads are.
I think the biggest difficulty is that the amount of grip that there is doesn’t really match up to the amount of grip that you think there is. So you might see a corner that you think looks OK, but in actual fact it’s like driving on a road made of banana skins. On the other hand, you might then see a corner that looks like a skating rink, but then when you get there the grip is actually OK.
So how do you tell the difference? If I knew that, I suppose I would be leading the rally...
But for me it was always going to be a question of learning step by step. We started the day 10th and ended it eighth, which is always good. Sure, some of that is because Ogier went off. But the fact is that he made a mistake and we didn’t, which shows that we are learning.
It wasn’t a completely perfect day. We had a broken front-left spring in the morning, which cost us a bit of time, and then in the evening our light pod wasn’t perfectly adjusted. But these were just small things, and in rallying you have to learn how to drive around problems. So that’s what we tried to do.
We can’t take anything for granted tomorrow, as we’ve still got the Resolfen stage to drive twice, which is sure to be very tricky. I’m discovering new things all the time, and I know that I’ve said this before, but Rally GB is definitely one of the most complicated rallies that I have faced all year.
I’d really like to finish my first season in a positive way, so tomorrow we’re determined to get to the end and score some points. If we can do that, it will be mission accomplished.”
For more about Pirelli in the WRC visit: www.pirelli.com
Raikkonen has never tackled the British round of the championship before, so it represents another leap into the unknown for the Finn, who drives a Citroen C4 World Rally Car for the French manufacturer’s Junior team.
As always though, he is able to rely on co-driver Kaj Lindstrom to guide him through all the potential pitfalls. Kaj has plenty of experience of Great Britain, having even taken part in - and won - the British Rally Championship.
Kimi sent this first update just before the rally opening Superspecial.
Blog one: Thursday 11 November, 1800hrs.
“I’ve been in motorsport for a few years now, so you would have thought that I should be used to it by now. But every season I’m always surprised by just how quickly the year has gone - especially this year.
It feels like my first rally of the season, in Finland on the Arctic Rally in January, was like yesterday. Or is that just because it’s so cold here in Wales? Actually, I’m used to the British weather now because I lived for a few years in England. My house was in Essex, where they filmed ‘Footballers’ Wives’. That’s all it’s really famous for I think...
I’ve heard a lot about Rally GB and it’s always been good for Finnish drivers for some reason. We’ll have to wait and see if it’s good for this particular Finnish driver but one thing is for sure: it looks extremely tricky.
There’s going to be a lot of mud, which is something that you don’t see in Formula One very often - unless you happen to be in a gravel trap. We start quite a long way down the order tomorrow and that’s not going to help us because the roads will be in bad condition by the time we get there.
In the end though it doesn’t matter because we’re not here to set really quick times: we just want to learn and above all get to the finish of the rally. We’ve made a lot of progress this year and if we can end the season by scoring some points, this would be really good. Hopefully I’ll get a bit of help from my co-driver Kaj: he’s a former British Rally Champion, so he should know his way round. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping.
A lot of people have been asking me what I’m doing next year and the truth is that I really don’t know. My management is working on a few options, but rallying is definitely what we are looking at; I’m not going back to Formula One next year.
Obviously it makes things a bit easier if we can end the season with a strong result, so that’s what we’re going to be concentrating on this weekend. Rallying is all about experience, so with everything we’ve learned so far, I’m sure we’re going to be in a much stronger position next year. If we’ve not drowned in all the rain by then...”
For more about Pirelli in the WRC visit: www.pirelli.com
Weijs began the rally as the only man who could challenge series leader Aaron Burkart for the 2010 crown. But when Burkart’s Suzuki slipped off the road on Saturday the Dutchman was suddenly favourite to take the series.
Things were looking good for Weijs until a mechanical problem on Sunday turned the result on its head again.
Back home after an emotionally draining rally, Hans sent this third and final blog.
Blog three: Tuesday 26 October, 1200hrs.
“I still don’t really know what to say. For me, it meant everything to win the Junior World Rally Championship this year and I was so close, but not close enough. On SS15, the penultimate stage, the sensor on my crankshaft broke. I stopped in the stage and I was able to fix it, but I lost over 10 minutes and dropped to third place. At the same time Aaron [who had restarted as a SupeRally entry] had climbed to fourth which put me only three points ahead of him. I needed seven to win.
I’m happy for Aaron of course, but also very sad. This was a huge opportunity for me and I did everything I could to win. I knew that I could make a mistake at any time, but it is worse in some ways to lose so much time because of a mechanical problem. But, hey, that’s rally - and it’s the same for everyone, I know.
One thing I achieved this season which I’ve never done before was to get through every event without SupeRallying once. In fact, the only big problems I had were mechanical ones. I knew it would be hard to win the Championship after my engine blew up in Portugal and I had to retire, but still I tried as hard as I could and I finished on the podium in all my other events this season. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough.
In Spain Lemes drove a great rally and I’m very happy that he could win his home event, it is only a shame that we could not both celebrate. The other drivers were all really great after my problem on SS15 - even Sebastien Ogier told me he had been watching me over the weekend and he was sorry for my bad luck - I couldn’t believe it! I think this guy is a great driver and he was J-WRC Champion so to know he is watching me is incredible.
I will never give up. For sure, it will be tough to find sponsors and budget for next year, but I will work and work until I have tried everything. There is nothing that is too much effort for me, because I love to drive and I can’t imagine living without rally.
I want to be back in the WRC next year, but for now I can only say thank you to everyone who has helped me so far. I hope that everyone will see what Bjorn and I have achieved this season with the help of our team and the support of our friends and families.
You can never be too sad with all these great people around. I know they will be with me whatever happens and we are always able to laugh together. If you are sad nothing changes so you have to look on the bright side.”
For more about Pirelli in the WRC visit: www.pirellityre.com
To find out more about Hans Weijs visit: http://hansweijs.com/web
The Dutchman began this final round of the J-WRC as the only competitor who could challenge Aaron Burkart for this year’s crown - and when Burkart slipped off the road on Saturday he gained the upper hand in the fight.
Hans’s sent this blog update after Saturday’s competition.
Blog two: Saturday 23 October, 2000hrs.
“What a day! I started ready to go head-to-head with [class leader Yeray] Lemes. The only way to make sure I win the JWRC title this weekend is to win this rally. So, I wanted to take as much time off his lead as possible so my fate was in my hands.
My C2 felt great all day and I love the Spanish tarmac stages so I attacked them and was really happy to gain 30 seconds on Lemes and win 5 of the 6 stages. Now his lead as we start the last day is only 14 seconds and tomorrow I will put pressure on him again.
On SS7, the first stage of the day, Aaron lost his wheel and had to retire. Honestly, this was a great shame for me. Before the rally, Aaron and I said we wanted the best fight possible, to drive hard and fast and see who wins. In terms of time he will now start a long way behind me on Day Three, but this is not the case in terms of position - it is not over yet for Aaron and I cannot relax.
Today I had to push all day, because tomorrow Aaron will superally. It looks like only six cars will start the JWRC tomorrow. Three of these will have superallied. If Aaron can then beat the other two and finish in fourth and I come second to Lemes, Aaron wins the Championship. So I have no choice - attack, attack, attack is my only option.
One thing I cannot even think about is if I will have a problem - this can happen to anyone at anytime on a rally, but you have to look on the bright side. My father and brother are both here with me in Spain as well as my neighbours from at home in Holland who I used to race with around the local fields from when I was as young as 10 years old!
During the day when I am driving, I know they are all watching me (like my mother at home) and in the evening they help me to relax and keep me laughing, so I can’t think too much about the rally and what an important job I have to do. Even so I am still focused. My co-driver Bjorn and I work really well together and he always knows when to be serious, but also when it is time to joke around and have fun. I drive best when I am having fun. For Bjorn and me, the harder we push, the better the feeling and the more fun we have, so there has been a great atmosphere in the car this weekend.
Rally is the best game in the world - and in this rally I don’t have any tactics but driving the best I can. This is how the WRC should be, pushing right until the very end. On some of the stages this morning - SS8 and SS9 - I was even in the top 10 overall! I can’t believe it, it is a dream to be in the top 10 in a two-wheel drive car.
Of course there is a lot of pressure this weekend, but I like it this way. It is a privilege to be in a position where everyone is interested in what you do, because soon you might be a World Champion. I feel very lucky and tomorrow I will give everything I have to prove that I am worth this attention.
Whatever happens, I will write again after the rally. For now, wish me good luck!
For more about Pirelli in the WRC visit: www.pirellityre.com