WRC Rally Finland Preview 2017

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Rally Finland (27-30 July), the next stop for the FIA World Rally Championship contenders, is one of the most spectacular events on the calendar. It has an awesome reputation and while a handful of ‘outsiders’ have stood on the top step of the podium, it continues to be dominated by Finnish drivers who have won 54 of the 66 editions.

The event dates back to 1951 when it was a qualifier for the Finnish entrants for Rallye Monte-Carlo. Known back then as the 1000 Lakes Rally, it was first included in the WRC in 1973 and is still affectionately referred to as the Finnish Grand Prix. The smooth gravel roads are kind on cars but the high-speed nature of the fast and flowing stages see the cars fly from jump to jump and reward only the bravest crews. The challenge is immense and pace notes have to be perfect in order to judge the speed and positioning of the car over blind crests that hide a following corner. Mastering the jumps, precision delivery of pace notes and fearlessness are key to success in Finland.

With the Championships closing up following Rally Poland, competition will be fierce at the head of the field. There is also a strong entry of FIA WRC 2 Championship contenders and the Junior WRC Championship crews will again be in action for the fourth of their six-round series.

Five stages will be broadcast live; the opening Harju stage on Thursday as well as its repeated run on Friday evening, the legendary Ouninpohja on Saturday, and both Oitilla stages on Sunday, the second counting as the all-important Power Stage.

THE 2017 ROUTE

The 2017 Rally Finland route is a mix of old and new with just two stages identical to those run in 2016 – Saalahti on Saturday and Lempää run on Sunday. Stage 14, Pihlajakoski, is completely new and all other stages have modifications from previous years. The rally kicks off on Thursday evening with the Harju street stage in Jyväskylä before a marathon day on Friday that takes in nearly 16 hours behind the wheel over classic Finnish stages. Saturday’s route heads south to Jämsä and the legendary Ouninpohja, which will be driven in its traditional direction this year. Sunday remains the same as 2016 with two loops of two stages culminating in the 6.8 kilometre Oittila Power Stage.

RALLY DATA

Total distance:
Stage distance:
Number of stages:

1,425.96 km
314.20 km (22%)
25

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