Fri 26 Apr 2024

Hämäläinen lifts the lid on Janne Tuohino's 'sauna' incident at Arctic Rally 2021

Renowned co-driver Reeta Hämäläinen has unveiled the true events behind her and Janne Tuohino's withdrawal from the 2021 Arctic Rally Finland.

In the latest episode of the WRC Backstories podcast, Hämäläinen opens up to Rally.TV's Becs Williams, sharing her journey from a passion for horses to her ascent as a world title-winning co-driver now partnering Emil Lindholm.

She also sheds light on the peculiar circumstances leading to her and driver Janne Tuohino's departure from Arctic Rally Finland, the second round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship, amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.

Former Ford and Škoda works driver Tuohino had returned from retirement to compete in the winter event aboard a 2017-specification Ford Fiesta World Rally Car under his JanPro Racing banner. Despite finishing Saturday's leg in 12th overall, they failed to appear for the Sunday-morning restart.

Tuohino's team initially cited a shoulder injury. Speculation arose, with some attributing it to an incident in the sauna, while others suggested excessive revelry the night before.

“Actually, the truth is even more boring,” Hämäläinen revealed. “He wasn’t even coming out of the sauna… We had a hotel where everybody had their own [apartments]. He had been In the sauna, but he was coming to his apartment and he slipped just in front of the door on the ice.

“I can tell you that this wasn’t funny for me,” she continued. “At the time, I was so devastated because that was my big dream – in a WRC car [with a] WRC priority driver and then this happened.

“Of course, I understand and I know that there were a lot of rumours and these RallyTroll pages and everything were saying that we had a party… Hey – do people understand how much money Janne Tuohino put into this rally? So no, we were not partying during the rally.”

During the 90-minute episode, Hämäläinen delves into her co-driving origins alongside her father Teuvo as well as reflecting on her courageous battle with cancer among other topics.

Listen now on Spotify, Apple or WRC.com.

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