Relive the Five Greatest All-Time Moments From Rally Finland, the WRC’s Fastest Race
This year isn’t the kindest to motorsport fans with races and gatherings canceled by the lot, and main events like Formula 1 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans postponed, only to be held without spectators. The event formerly known as the 1000 Lakes Rally, now the infamous Rally Finland, is not only the fastest event on the WRC calendar, but also a gravel race with the largest and most spectacular jumps the FIA would allow. For that reason, Walter Röhrl was never a fan, yet for the Finns and many others, it’s the ultimate challenge between the trees.
The trick of getting away with those high-altitude attacks is to brake just before flooring the gas for maximum takeoff speed, thus helping the weight to shift forward as much as possible before the grip level drops to zero. Unfortunately, drivers won’t be able to practice that for points in 2020, as Rally Finland has been pushed back to next season.
The team which flies helicopters and a twin-turboprop plane all day long while managing around 65 cameras on the ground provides total live WRC coverage today, yet also have a few boxes of cassettes full of vintage footage. And to help us through this period, the editors of WRC+ picked five of their favorite Rally Finland moments, spanning from 1992 to 2018:
At number five is local M-Sport driver Teemu Suninen’s 2018 stunt, during which he performed the perfect four-wheel drift into a ditch, only to bounce back from the bank without losing more than a few seconds. What looked hairy from the cockpit was the save of the event by a long shot.
WRC puts Colin McRae’s Finnish debut at fourth. Driving a Group A Leone to qualify for WRC with the Subaru World Rally Team, McRae’s 1992 season included at least three big rolls, after all of which he just kept driving like they still had structural integrity.
At third is the flight of Evgeny Nakinov with his Citroën C4 WRC in 2009, something that’s easier to describe with the following frames shot by photographer Kyn Wai Chung:
That was the kind of luck local hero Miko Hirvonen just didn’t have the following year in his Focus WRC, which disintegrated during a crash he then called the biggest of his career. Good thing that the safety regulations were already very stringent by 2010, leaving both Miko and his co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen walking away without a scratch.
WRC’s favorite Finnish moment could be no other than when local superstar Marcus Grönholm used just three of his Peugeot 308’s gears to claim victory in 2004. No top speed? No problem! As a double world champion growing up in Finland, Marcus knew some shortcuts…
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