The Flying Finn community of the Finnish ASN AKK-Motorsport is doing important work for the future of Finnish motorsport. Through the Flying Finn driver path, talented young drivers that are on their way towards the world elite also get a chance to put their skills to the test in Neste Rally Finland.
Finnish motorsport has long traditions, even by international standards. Extensive work for keeping those traditions going is being done through AKK’s Flying Finn youth programme.
“Flying Finn is a Finnish motorsport community, which includes both star drivers and fans as well as teams and businesses. One of our main goals is to make sure that Finnish motorsport continues to do well in the future too”, says Jari Rask who is responsible for overseeing the Flying Finn activities at AKK.
According to Rask, Flying Finn is a very comprehensive programme, where the partner companies play an especially significant role. With their financial support, they give promising young drivers better chances to advance on their careers.
“AKK Sports Ltd and AKK-Motorsport ry organise Neste Rally Finland, and one of the cornerstones of the AKK operations are the Flying Finn activities, through which we aim to spread the joy of motorsport and attract even more partners to join us and support the programme”, Rask says. During the Neste Rally Finland weekend, the Flying Finn concept is showcased for the general public in the Jyväskylä Paviljonki Rally HQ as well as out on the stages: the service park Flying Finn Walk of Fame honours those companies, individuals etc. that have donated karts (cars used in karting) for the programme, and the Flying Finn Lounge is a place for business meetings and networking.
New driver legends are being made with a well-coordinated concept
“Flying Finn is linked to Neste Rally Finland in many different ways, but one of the main things is of course the Flying Finn Future Star concept. For young rally drivers, Neste Rally Finland is an extremely big opportunity to show their skills as the event is followed by 180 million people around the world, and all eyes are fixed onto one driver & co-driver pair at a time. If you in that moment are able to show your own talent, pretty many people will notice it”, Rask explains.
People involved in the Flying Finn programme do valuable work to ensure that Finland will continue to be one of the most successful motorsport nations in the world. Currently, Finland boasts four Formula One and thirteen World Rally Championship titles, with the intention of winning plenty more in the future.
One of the most significant factors for the future of young drivers is of course the finances. The aim of the Flying Finn programme is to build an ecosystem around Finnish motorsport where companies can act as independent supporters, but also to take Finnish motorsport forward together and make use of Finland’s motorsport success in their own marketing and communications activities.
Rally a uniting factor for Finns
As a small nation, Finland can’t compete internationally with the number of people doing motorsports. Instead, our successes are very often based on high-quality hard work. The power of Finnish motorsport can indeed be found in very close cooperation and in different actors working together.
“The Finnish rally community for example is a very tightknit group. We stand together in both joy and sorrow. We Finns are a rallying nation. We live and breathe rally and only rally – at least this week. Each and every one of us follows motorsport. Even though you might not be actively involved in it yourself, you still know a thing or two about it. When you bring up Neste Rally Finland, everyone seems to have some memory related to it”, Rask says with a smile.
Rask himself also has plenty of previous experience from motorsport, even though he has only been working with the Flying Finn programme for a couple of months.
“Previously, I have for example been a Formula 3 Team Manager in Europe and worked a lot with young drivers. That’s one reason why this matter is very close to my heart. When the opportunity to start developing the Flying Finn operations came up, I absolutely wanted to get involved”, Rask says.