Rally Finland was a remarkable event. Just like the first half of the season it was incredibly unpredictable. But I don’t think anyone could have predicted how the podium would turn out to be.
Rally Finland, for many year was an event where only the Scandinavian’s were brave enough and knowledgeable to win here. But with modern technology, on-board videos that can be accessed and studied by anyone. Added to that two frenchmen called Sebastien and it all became a distant memory.
However, this season – With wider, faster cars. It took a huge amount of ‘Sisu’ to conquer the 2017 edition. Something Finnish Rally drivers are born with. And they came and dominated their home event. Two suffered bad luck. Latvala’s finnish built Toyota freaked out, maybe ran out of the brave stuff and came to a hault. Dropping Latvala out of the lead. Very new boy Teemu Suninen, on only his 2nd WRC event in the new 17′ Spec Fiesta was 2nd. But a small mistake, with a bit if luck after nearly rolling it dropped to 4th.
Suninen’s 2nd was replaced by a ragging welsh man, trying to crash the Suomi party. 3rd on the penultimate stage, just 0.9 seconds behind Juho Hanninen. He pushed hard with his DMACK tyres giving him good grip. And by the finish, he just amount managed to snatch 2nd.
But it was all about another fresh young Finnish WRC star. After joining the Toyota team a quarter of the way into this season. He showed what he could do. And know one could catch him. Esapekka Lappi went on to take his first win on his home event. And not just produced the most incredible drive to the top step of the podium. But also produced the best atmosphere at a finish line and podium, in front of a home crowd that I have ever witnessed.
Photos & Words By Daniel Darrall