Safety is of paramount importance at any rally, but extra measures will be in place to protect crews at Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox (26 - 28 February) with temperatures forecast to dip below a numbing -20°C.
Aside from standard in-car equipment such as a fire extinguisher, first aid kit and a reflective warning triangle, every competing car must contain a pack of winter clothing for the driver and co-driver in case they become stranded mid-stage in the frozen forests.
“The idea is that if you retire somewhere in the middle of nowhere you might have to stay there for quite a bit of time before we run the stage so it’s important that you can stay outside the car and still keep yourself warm,” explained clerk of the course Kai Tarkiainen.
“Therefore you need to carry warm hats and mittens and an overall or something warm, a coat, trousers and proper boots. I think the boots are the most important bit really because if you can keep your feet warm then the rest of the body stays warm.”
Uniquely, at this rally co-drivers do not have to wear FIA standard footwear. Part of their pre-stage ritual is to fine-tune the tyre pressures on all four corners of their car and they have been given a helping hand to ensure they retain warmth in their feet while stood in the snow.
Equipment more suitable for Arctic conditions, such as boots with breathable woollen insides may be used. However, the outer layer must be made of a non-flammable material such as leather.
While drivers wear standard competition boots, they will change into more appropriate footwear if their rally comes to an early end. “With those FIA shoes, if it is -30°C you do not survive very long,” added Tarkiainen.
Video: Arctic Rally Finland
So, with warm clothing guaranteed, the next thing for competitors to look out for if they stop in the Arctic wilderness are the wolves…….
• Full coverage from Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox 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.