artic rally lapland

TGR Trio Headline Artic Rally Lapland

Kalle Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans headline the icy adventure at the arctic rally Lapland along with team boss Latvala.

In the enchanting realm of the Arctic Circle, the legendary Arctic Lapland Rally is set to unfold for the 59th time on the 2nd and 3rd of February. This iconic event has attracted a dazzling international lineup, with particular focus naturally falling upon the drivers of Toyota’s WRC team, Kalle Rovanperä and his teammate Elfyn Evans.

Traditionally serving as the opening round for the Finnish Rally Championship, the Arctic Lapland Rally now assumes the role of the second event in the series for the current season. This strategic shift from mid-January to early February offers an ideal testing ground for drivers aiming at the upcoming WRC event in Sweden.

It can be confidently asserted that the move has proven successful. A total of 124 crews will set off on Friday, the 2nd of February, from the Lordi Square in Rovaniemi towards the inaugural stages of the rally. Among these, an impressive 33 are international participants—an unprecedented figure in the recent history of Finnish Rally Championship.

Leading the pack among the entrants is the two-time World Rally Champion, Kalle Rovanperä, who has previously participated in the Rovaniemi based-event in 2020 and the WRC event on the same roads in 2021. This year marks a partial WRC season for Rovanperä, who opts out of the legendary season opener in Monte Carlo to commence his campaign in the Swedish WRC rally. Arctic Circle thus provides Rovanperä with an excellent testing opportunity ahead of the WRC kick-off.

Elfyn Evans, Rovanperä’s teammate and last year’s WRC runner-up, embarks on his first-ever participation in this classic event. However, the Welshman also brings with him some familiarity with the Rovaniemi special stages from the 2021 WRC Arctic Rally Finland.

Jari-Matti Latvala, the team principal of the Toyota WRC team, crowns the strong presence of Toyota in the Arctic Lapland Rally. He, alongside his trusted co-driver Juho Hänninen, will savor the challenging roads of Lapland in the familiar Toyota Celica.

The main category in the Finnish Rally Championship is the class of Rally2 cars and also boasts a formidable lineup of 26 competitors. Among the Finnish contenders in this heated category are Roope Korhonen, who clinched victory in the opening event in Riihimäki and is transitioning to Toyota’s new Rally2 car, defending champion Teemu Asunmaa in the Skoda, and Benjamin Korhola, who finished second in Riihimäki and will be accompanied by the most experienced co-driver in WRC history, Miikka Anttila, in his Hyundai.

The list of guests for this class is equally impressive. Mikko Heikkilä, who joined the European Rally Championship last season, starts his campaign at the arctic with Toyota’s new GR Yaris Rally2 car. Lauri Joona, who secured bronze in the Rally2 class last year, partners with his new navigator Janni Hussi.

Georg Linnamäe from Estonia, competing in the WRC2 class this season, also takes the wheel of a new Toyota. In total, five Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 cars will be seen in Rovaniemi, including Toyota’s junior program drivers Hikaru Kogure and Yuki Yamamoto.

In the Rally3 class the international representation is again most formidable. A total of 16 driver pairs, nine of them from abroad, will be vying for supremacy. Domestic heavyweights and leading drivers of the class, Henri Hokkala, Jesse Kallio, and Toni Herranen, face strong challenges, including last year’s WRC3 class silver medalist, Diego Dominguez from Paraguay.

As for the Rally4 class, the favourites include the winner of the opening race, Leevi Lassila, and Tuukka Kauppinen. In the class of 1600cc stock cars, current points leader Ville Vatanen seeks his second victory of the season, with stiff competition from Henri Sääskilahti and Lauri Halonen. Finally, in the SM5 class of older 4WD cars, the top duo from Riihimäki, Pekka Keski-Korsu and Arttu Lähdeniemi, launch as the favourites.

External Credits:

Artic Rally Lapland


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