- Classic roads join more modern stages for a heavily-revised Rally Finland
- New finish format and location to bring a more modern look
- Fresh start ceremony and new territories bring the rally to the people
WRC Secto Rally Finland will innovate while staying true to the traditions of the fastest event on the World Rally Championship, by covering the widest geographical area in the recent history of the rally while adopting a more modern format.
Having stages that are more spread out allows some much-loved classic roads to return, while making it easier for more people to see the cars in flat-out action and showcasing a wider variety of typically Finnish terrain. More than half the route has changed, with 27 % of the mileage being totally new for this year.
As well as bringing back some vintage roads, the stages carried over from more recent years have also undergone a number of modifications, to give the 2023 WRC Secto Rally Finland a new look from 3-6 August: round nine of the World Rally Championship.
One significant change takes place before the rally even gets underway: for the first time in many years there will be a ceremonial start, held on Wednesday at the harbourside in Jyvaskyla. This will precede the shakedown on Thursday morning and Harju city special on Thursday evening, offering a quintessentially Finnish view over lakes and forests that will host a total of 22 special stages this year, totalling 320.56 competitive kilometres.
While the service park and rally HQ remain in Jyvaskyla’s famous Paviljonki, some building work in the main plaza means that the finish podium has also moved and will take place in Jämsä this year: part of the rally’s journey southwards on the final day.
For the first time, the climax of the rally on Sunday afternoon will incorporate a tyre fitting zone, Power Stage, and finish ceremony all within the same area: Himos-Jämsä. It’s a more modern way to bring the action to a thrilling crescendo, with everything decided on the spot in just a few breath-taking moments.
But the biggest changes to the route come on the first full day, Friday, with nine stages (the highest single-day total of the rally) and 104.76 competitive kilometres to the northeast of Jyvaskylä. The first forest stage, Laukaa, is a familiar name but features a new start and some epic jumps, while a legend returns as SS4 for the first time since 2015: Myhinpää. This is renowned as one of the best stages in the world, showcasing the sort of rollercoaster crests that make Finland’s rally so famous. Lankamaa, one of the other stages run on the opening full day, also adopts a new format this year: shorter but every bit as challenging, while Halttula is brand new for 2023.
Saturday also introduces another new stage – Västilä – with the longest stage of the rally, the 20.65 kilometres of Vekkula, run twice live on TV stations all around the world. Eight stages will be held on Saturday in total, with the most competitive kilometres in one day: 160.68. Just four stages conclude the action of the 72nd Rally Finland on Sunday, with the finish expected at 14:15 in the afternoon.
Clerk of the Course Kai Tarkiainen commented: “With an expanded route we’re able to make it easier to attract yet more spectators and volunteers to the rally, while keeping the traditional character of the roads that drivers love. As well as some new stages there are familiar names on the itinerary, but even these have often been extensively revised, so they will be new to many of the drivers. This is a significant event as it’s the first time in many years that we are reaching out to new territories and covering such a wide geographical spread, underlining the enduring popularity of rallying in our country.”
Find the route itinerary here.