* New-for-2022 headlining class attracts 12 entries from Hyundai, M-Sport Ford and Toyota
* Flying Finns Lappi and world championship leader Rovanperä aiming for home glory
* Defending Finnish champion Lindholm features in packed WRC2 entry
* Kimi Räikkönen’s nephew Justus set to make Rally Finland history as youngest starter
The spotlight will be on Finland’s rallying present and future when the country hosts round eight of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship next month (August 4-7).
Returning to its more traditional mid-summer date having run in October last season, the Secto Rally Finland offers the ultimate high-speed rollercoaster ride for WRC regulars and national-level drivers aiming to showcase their skills on a global stage.
Organiser AKK Sports has attracted a 45-strong entry, including 12 Rally1 registrations, 17 from WRC2 contenders and five from WRC3 entrants. And of the 45 entries, four drivers have celebrated victory in host city Jyväskylä.
Kai Tarkiainen, Secto Rally Finland Clerk of the Course, said:
“We have a really good, quality entry with the maximum amount of Rally1 cars. We’ve got some top names, including our own Kalle Rovanperä, who is leading the world championship by a massive amount. Then we have Esapekka Lappi, the winner in 2017, and Rovanperä’s Toyota team-mate, who showed great pace when he came back last year. Hyundai’s Ott Tänak is a double winner and the team has a testing base in Finland so we can expect good things from them. Elfyn Evans took his first Finland victory in 2021, while Craig Breen has twice finished on the podium in Finland. His M-Sport Ford team has shown great potential this season and has five Rally Finland wins to its name.”
“The WRC2 entry also looks really interesting with several Finnish drivers of different levels of experience taking part and the possibility of lots of position changes. We’ve also got five runners in WRC3, which is for Rally3 cars from this season and should be competitive.”
“But above all, we’re expecting some great action on the stages, tickets are selling fast and we’re hoping for some great Finnish summer weather. Having big crowds is really important for us because the financial situation is not easy – it’s ticket sales that keep this great event going.”
LAPPI VERSUS ROVANPERÄ FOR HOME GLORY
Finland’s leading Rally1 drivers, Esapekka Lappi and Kalle Rovanperä, will be pushing for victory on home soil. For Lappi, it would mean a second Rally Finland win. For Rovanperä, it would mean his first on his home WRC event. Having won four times already this season for Finland-based Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, the 21-year-old tops the provisional championship classification by 65 points ahead of next week’s Rally Estonia.
HUTTUNEN GETS DREAM OPPORTUNITY
Jari Huttunen has been handed a dream opportunity for Rally Finland. A winner of AKK’s Flying Finn Future Star scholarship in 2015, Huttunen is stepping up from an M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Fiesta Rally2 to one of the British squad’s Ford Puma Rally1 for the first time.
JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPION PAJARI STRIVING TO SHINE
Like the Rally1 category, WRC2 could also be a fight for Finnish supremacy as defending national champion Emil Lindholm takes on Teemu Suninen. Sami Pajari, the 2019 Flying Finn Future Star and 2021 Junior WRC champion, makes his second WRC start in a Rally2 car, while Teemu Asunmaa, Mikko Heikkilä, Eerik Pietarinen and Riku Tahko will also fly the Finnish flag in WRC2.
HERRANEN CAN IMPRESS IN WRC3
Toni Herranen is getting ready to progress to four-wheel drive when he enters the Rally3-based WRC3 division on Sector Rally Finland. The Junior ERC contender is better known for his exploits in Rally4 Ford Fiestas. Junior WRC regular Lauri Joona will also be one to watch in an identical Fiesta Rally3.
RÄIKKÖNEN NAME RETURNS TO RALLY FINLAND
Kimi Räikkönen’s nephew Justus is set to create Rally Finland history when he makes his debut on the Secto-backed event. Son of Räikkönen’s brother Rami, Justus Räikkönen will be 17 years, four months and 25 days when the event begins on August 4, making him the youngest Rally Finland starter so far. Currently in fifth position in Class 5 of the Finnish championship, Räikkönen Jr is in his second full season of rallying. He will be able to count on experienced co-driver Mikael Korhonen for his first try of a Peugeot 208 Rally4. Ex-Formula One driver Kimi Räikkönen made three appearances on Rally Finland with ninth place in 2011 his best result.
THE BIG NUMBER: 18
Eighteen different nationalities are represented on the Secto Rally Finland entry list to underline the event’s global appeal.
OVER 90 ENTRIES TO THE NATIONAL VETOMIES RALLY
More than 90 crews have registered for the national Vetomies Rally run alongside Secto Rally Finland. The crews will drive on Harju City Special Stage on Friday 5 August and on Saturday 6 August the special stages of Päijälä, Rapsula, Patajoki and Vekkula after the WRC drivers.
SECTO RALLY FINLAND ENTRY LIST
The full Secto Rally Finland entry list for 2022 is available here.