Tuesday and Wednesday were recce days in Finland, when WRC crews drove the stages and made their pace notes. We drove the recce too, joining the WRC TV location team on their hunt for camera positions. Here's what we found:
Corner cutting is common practice in Finland as drivers use every inch of the road to keep their speed up. But while clipping the edges might gain the odd tenth of a second here and there, the scrabbling tyres damage the roads and this year the Finnish authorities have taken steps to protect them. Brightly coloured finger boards [pictured below] are all over the route this year, warning drivers to keep clear of the edges. The signs are made of sheet aluminium mounted in a rubber foot, so it wouldn't be a disaster if a car did hit one. Question is, how many drivers will take the risk?
Jukojärvi's ski jump
Finland features more jumps and crests than any other round of the championship but a new one on Saturday's Jukojärvi stage could be the most spectacular of the lot. Located 4.9km from the start, and part of a new section introduced this year, the jump looks fairly tame on the approach, [inset] but the long, steep drop-off on the other side [below, next to Hans the cameraman] will keep cars hanging in the air like a ski-jumper.
The yellow house
The most famous landmark on Finland's most famous stage, this is Ouninpohja's iconic yellow house located 7.1km from the start. The yellow caution sign refers to the enormous jump lurking a couple of hundred metres after the house.
Formerly known as the 1000 Lakes Rally, water is never too far away from the stages. The shot below shows our recce car on a particularly picturesque section of Saturday's Horkka stage which is a favourite spot for the sport's professional photographers.
Back in 2008 Jari-Matti Latvala's rally ended after he clattered his Ford into a rock on Mökkipera. The impact damaged a steering arm which failed shortly after, sending the car off the road. Seven years on and the rock is still by the stage side, although thankfully now moved to a safer place. To mark its place in WRC history, a sign above reads: "Latvala Stone 2008."