Tuesday | 26 Jul 2016

Finland countdown: the route

The fastest rally of the WRC season, Neste Rally Finland features a total of 333.60 competitive kilometres spread over 24 special stages on firm, almost asphalt-like gravel. This year, like normal, organisers have tweaked the route to make it even better...

The competition takes place around the university city of Jyväskylä in central Finland, about 270 kilometres north of the capital Helsinki.

Following the tradition of changing the route annually to provide fresh challenges and variety, 43% of this year’s itinerary is new. Just three stages are identical to those run in 2015 (Mökkiperä, Surkee and Pihlajakoski), six are totally new (Halinen, Äänekoski-Valtra, Päijälä, Saalahti, Lempää and Oittila) and the remaining stages all have modifications.

The action begins on Thursday evening (28 July) with the 2.27-kilometre Harju stage in Jyväskylä, providing a mixed-surface challenge for the drivers. It will be run again at the end of Friday’s schedule, which includes four forest stages that are run twice  – including the classic Jukojärvi – and two new short and sharp ‘jab’ stages, Halinen and Äänekoski-Valtra. Crews return to Jyväskylä for a 30-minute service midway through the leg.

Saturday heads south towards Jämsä for a mix of new and traditional roads. Ouninpohja, Rally Finland's signature stage, is up first along with the new Päijälä and Saalahti tests in a loop of four tests that is repeated in the afternoon after a midpoint service.

Sunday comprises just two repeated stages, both of which are new. Lempää was last driven in 1999, while Oittila - doubling as the Power Stage - last featured in 1994 when it was called Mutanen. Sunday's stages are run without a service. 

The Harju street stage, run twice, will be broadcast live on WRC+, as will the closing Power Stage on Sunday.


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