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world rally championship

Rally Finland Attracts Record Number Of Crews

The ninth round of the World Rally Championship, Secto Rally Finland 1.-4.8.2024, has attracted a record number of participants this year, more than at any time since 2015. This year's enrollment totals 80 cars, which promises excitement and speed on the jumps and gravel roads of Central Finland.

The competition also includes reigning, two-time world champion Kalle Rovanperä, who has voluntarily driven a slightly lighter program this year. Kalle has more teammates than usual, as the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT brings no less than five Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrids to the race. In addition to Rovanperä, there are Sébastien Ogier, who will compete in Finland for the first time since 2021, last year's winner Elfyn Evans, Japanese Takamoto Katsuta, who has lived in Jyväskylä for years, and they will be joined by Sami Pajari, a young Finn competing in a Rally1 car for the first time.

A total of three Finns ride in the main class. Esapekka Lappi drives a Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid for Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team with teammates Thierry Neuville and three-time Secto Rally Finland winner Ott Tänak. M-Sport Ford's Puma Hybrid Rally1 cars will be driven by Adrien Fourmaux and Grégoire Munster.

A whopping 34 Rally2 cars will compete in Secto Rally Finland for their own points. In addition to the professionals who drive the series, there will also be Jari-Matti Latvala, Team Manager of Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, who will now settle into his own factory's Rally2 car with co-driver Juho Hänninen. Latvala also took part in the race last year and finished fifth in the Rally1 class, so Latvala, who has taken over the leadership position, undoubtedly still has speed.

They will face all the toughest stars in the WRC2 class. The list includes Oliver Solberg, Teemu Suninen, Emil Lindholm, Gus Greensmith and Pierre-Louis Loubet, as well as Finnish stars Lauri Joona, Roope Korhonen, Mikko Heikkilä and Teemu Asunmaa. The younger generation will also be joined to measure their speed when only 17-year-old Tuukka Kauppinen takes part in the first WRC rally of his life in a Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 car.

The Rally3 class also has a huge number of participants, as the Junior WRC series has been involved in Finland for a long time; The last time the series ran a Finnish race was five years ago. The winner of the AKK-supported Flying Finn Future Rally Star competition, Leevi Lassila, will also compete in the JWRC series, following in the footsteps of previous future stars. Previous winners include Teemu Suninen, Emil Lindholm, Sami Pajari and Lauri Joona.

All in all, there are up to 28 different nationalities participating in Secto Rally Finland, and there are a total of 80 crews.

Secto Rally Finland's race director Kai Tarkiainen is familiar:

"It's great that we have 10 Rally1 cars, three of which are owned by Finnish drivers. One of the most interesting is the young debut in a Rally1 car, Sami Pajari, who was part of our Flying Finn Future Rally Star in 2019. At that time, Sami's race ended in the bush with a Rally4 car, but he has since taken great strides forward in his career. It's a real Cinderella story to get behind the wheel of a Rally1 car from your first WRC rally in five years."

"It's also great to see such commitment from Toyota that they are bringing no less than five Rally1 cars into the race. It is also remarkable that there are three world champions in total, with Kalle Rovanperä, Sébastien Ogier and Ott Tänak all seen competing for victory with last year's winner Elfyn Evans."

"The 34 competitors in the WRC2 class is also a tough number. And there is also a strong Finnish representation: Teemu Suninen, Emil Lindholm, Mikko Heikkilä, Roope Korhonen, Lauri Joona and, as sugar on the bottom, Jari-Matti Latvala. It will be very interesting to see to the rally audience how Latvala fares with hungry young drivers when he faces Oliver Solberg and many other top names in the class."

"It is a pleasure to welcome Junior WRC after a five-year break. Add 8 more drivers with similar cars, and we have 25 Rally3 cars in the race, so the battles in this class will be amazing to see."

"All in all, 80 teams in this year's race is a very good number. In addition, crews arrive in Finland from all over the world. We have 28 different nationalities. There are countries like South Africa, Paraguay, Peru, Oman, Kazakhstan, Australia, Japan and the whole of Europe – almost any country, we have it! Separately, I would like to thank all the Finnish drivers who have already done the hard work of putting together a budget for the race at times like these, when it is certainly not easy. There are a total of 25 Finnish car municipalities involved, which is a huge number."

"The list of participants looks very good and further raises expectations for the gravel circus at the beginning of August, Secto Rally Finland."


External Credits:

Secto Rally Finland


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