Wednesday | 29 Sep 2021

Finland countdown – rally route

It’s a recipe that always delights. Take the world’s fastest rally roads, mix in the sport’s superstar drivers and the result is a smorgasbord of fast and furious high-flying action on Finland’s rollercoaster forest tracks.

The menu for this week’s 70th anniversary ‘Finnish Grand Prix’, as the country’s FIA World Rally Championship round is affectionately known, promises a much-changed itinerary from the last running in 2019. Just three special stages are driven in the same format.

But one thing remains unaltered. Once Secto Automotive Rally Finland (1 - 3 October) roars into action on Friday, it will immediately hit top gear and stay there throughout three days of competition on smooth gravel roads, littered by stomach-churning jumps, among central Finland’s forests and lakes.

After Friday’s early afternoon start, the rally heads straight into the exciting mixed-surface Harju (2.31km) street stage in front of big crowds in central Jyväskylä.

Then it’s into the forests west of the city for a double run of Ässämäki (12.31km) and Sahloinen-Moksi (21.37km), with a tyre change in Petäjävesi separating the loops. The day ends in Oittila (19.75km), the event’s first stage in darkness since 1994. The six tests total 89.42km.

Saturday is clustered around Jämsä and, with 151.95km of relentless action, comprises more than half the rally’s competitive distance.

It begins with Kakaristo-Hassi (18.17km), featuring sections of the iconic Ouninpohja test, followed by Päijälä (22.61km), the longest of the weekend. New stages at Arvaja (13.49km), including roads last driven in 1994, and Patajoki (20.55km) complete the morning quartet.

All four are repeated in the afternoon after service and a re-run of Friday’s Harju, in darkness, completes a gruelling leg.

Rally rewind: Finland 2019

Rally rewind: Finland 2019

It’s been more than two years since the forests and lakes of central Finland echoed to the sound of the FIA World Rally ...

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Sunday’s finale is unchanged from 2019. It heads east for two runs each on the classic roads of Laukaa (11.75km) and the big jumps of Ruuhimäki (11.12km). Ruuhimäki’s second pass forms the bonus-points paying Wolf Power Stage. The four tests total 45.74km.

The 19 stages add up to 287.11km.

• Full coverage from Secto Automotive Rally Finland will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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