Neste Rally Finland
|Neste Rally Finland|
- Smooth and blisteringly quick gravel roads, buried among forests and lakes, are characterised by massive stomach-churning jumps. The fastest rally in the championship and the one that every driver wants to win. Bravery and commitment are essential here more than anywhere else.
- Rally starts on Thursday night with exciting mixed-surface Harju street stage in front of big crowds in central Jyväskylä.
- Drivers head west on Friday for a leg showing few changes. Moksi, Urria and Ässämäki are all unaltered and driven twice. Only Äänekoski has slight revisions. The day ends with a Harju repeat.
- Saturday comprises almost 133km of relentless action, spanning more than 14 hours on roads around Jämsa. Pihlajakoski, Päijälä, Kakaristo, featuring roads from the legendary Ouninpohja, and the returning Leustu are driven twice.
- Sunday’s finale heads east for two runs at two classic tests – Laukaa and the big jumps of Ruuhimäki.
- Sunday’s live TV Wolf Power Stage in Ruuhimäki. Driven unchanged from 2018, the roads are fast and wide, with the famous roller-coaster jumps near the end leading into a stadium section and a monster leap across the finish.
- A mix of hard, wide roads with narrower more technical sections.
- Flat out from start to finish. It is affectionately known as the Finnish Grand Prix and 12 of the 13 fastest WRC rallies have been here.
- Pace notes must be perfect. Blind crests often hide corners and it’s vital to position the car correctly before take-off to ensure maximum speed through the bend.
- Speeds are so high that time differences are small and there is little opportunity to regain vital seconds after a mistake.
- One of the hardest rallies for co-drivers as high speeds demand a constant, pinpoint accurate delivery of pace notes.
- Mastering the jumps. If the speed is too high, the car’s aerodynamics will force the back down and the front will rise. The tactic is to brake before take-off and accelerate full throttle over the jump.
- Gravel suspension.
- Packed gravel roads mean medium compound tyres will be the template choice, but soft compound rubber is also available.
- Super-smooth stages mean cars can be prepared in the knowledge that mechanical issues are rare.
- Dates back to 1951 when it was launched as a means of deciding the Finnish entries for Rallye Monte-Carlo.
- It took on the name 1000 Lakes Rally and was included in the calendar for the WRC in its first year in 1973.
- It has been dominated by Finnish drivers who have won 55 of the 68 editions. Top of the roll of honour are Hannu Mikkola and Marcus Grönholm with seven wins.
- The 2016 edition was the fastest rally in WRC history. Kris Meeke won at an average speed of 126.62kph.
What’s new for 2019
- The only new stage is Saturday’s Leustu test, which returns in a virtually identical format to when it was last driven in 2014.
- A handful of other stages show minor alterations from 2018, but nothing like the sweeping changes from 12 months ago when more than 65 per cent of the roads were new.
- Visit Kakaristo hairpin on Saturday to enjoy great action and a brilliant atmosphere. For many years part of the legendary Ouninpohja, the junction is the focal point of the new Kakaristo test.
- Finland is all about jumps and they don’t come much bigger than Urria.
- Or maybe they do…..Ruuhimäki is the place to go on Sunday. It is famous for its sequence of big wide road yumps near the end, but the test closes with a monster of a jump. It puts a whole new meaning to the term ‘flying finish’!
- The party atmosphere. Jyväskylä is the ultimate rally town and no visit would be complete without a night out in one of the many bars in the main street. Drinks are not cheap though….
Neste Rally Finland