Teenage Kalle jets off

Flying Finn Kalle Rovanperä will swap his Skoda Fabia R5 for a fighter jet during celebrations to mark 100 years of the Finnish Air Force on Saturday (16 June).

The Skoda Motorsport WRC 2 star will be strapped into a Hawk advanced jet trainer before being put through his aerobatic paces by some of Finland’s best military pilots at Tikkakoski Airport near Jyväskylä, the host town of Neste Rally Finland (26-29 July).

He’ll be joined in a second jet by Mercedes F1 driver Valtteri Bottas as the pair take part in a unique aerial show called ‘Flying Finns – Challenge in the Sky’. Both men will fly at speeds of around 1,200km/h and their bodies will experience forces of up to 8G.

Seventeen-year-old Rovanperä said: “I’m sure that just before boarding the jet I’ll get the same feeling that I get before the start of a special stage – the ‘here we go’ feeling in my gut. It will be great to get in the sky with Valtteri and experience first-hand what the top Finnish Air Force pilots can do.”

Rovanperä will take flight in a Hawk trainer jet

Rovanperä is no stranger to excitement, having had an action-packed start to the WRC 2 season. At Rally Guanajuato Mexico, he fought back from a broken radiator to finish fifth and he was on course for victory at YPF Rally Argentina before a late crash ended his hopes.

Major Timo Rauhala, one of the Hawk instructors that will take part in the show, said Rovanperä is guaranteed more excitement in the skies above Finland.

“It’s fantastic to be part of this joint Flying Finns team,” he explained. “We’ll see how they cope with the G-forces and what speeds over 1,000km/h feels like. I believe the Flying Finn drivers will do great.”

For further information about the event, go to www.finaf100.fi.

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