The organisers of Neste Rally Finland [26 – 29 July] have revealed an almost entirely new route for the 2018 event.
Crews will have to make sure their pace note-making skills are on point as up to 40 per cent of this year’s route is made up of brand-new gravel roads around the host city of Jyväskylä. Additionally, up to 65 per cent of the route wasn’t seen last year.
The eighth round of the WRC will consist of 23 stages, totalling a competitive distance of 317km. The event will kick off with the Harju city centre stage on Thursday and will end with a spectacular Live TV Power Stage show on Sunday over the crests that punctuate the Ruuhimäki test.
“The planning of this year’s route has been done with passion. There will be plenty of challenging aspects for everyone – guaranteed – as different road types with different rhythms played a significant role in the road selection process,” assistant clerk of the course Kari Nuutinen explained.
After the rally-opening asphalt stage on Thursday, the rally moves onto Finland’s challenging gravel roads on Friday morning as the crews head west and tackle 10 stages, including the classic Moksi stage – which this year includes sections from the Vellipohja, Surkee and Parkkola tests.
Saturday’s schedule includes eight stages, including the only stage that remains intact from 2017 – Pihlajakoski. The third stage of the day will be familiar to many regular Neste Rally Finland spectators as the brand-new Kakaristo test includes roads from the legendary Ouninpohja stage.
Sunday ends with two stages that will run twice. The Laukaa test will precede the running of the Ruuhimäki stage which also doubles up as the Live TV Power Stage.