All Aboard For Secto Rally Finland’s High-Speed Rollercoaster Ride

  • Fast and famous FIA World Rally Championship counter set for lift-off in Jyväskylä
  • Exciting route changes to further raise the spectacle and increase the excitement
  • Top Finns among the bulging 68-car entry, the highest number in six years
  • Support of 3500 volunteers help to make Finland’s Gravel Grand Prix possible

The fastest rally drivers in the world will take on the fastest rally in the world when Secto Rally Finland runs from August 3-6.

As well as attracting the biggest entry in six years, organisers of round nine of the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship have introduced several tweaks to further increase the spectacular show for the thousands of fans heading to the forests of central Finland next week.

Changes include the return of the legendary rollercoaster Myhinpää stage, the untried Västilä run, plus a revamped route and finish location for Super Sunday based around the town of Himos, south of Jyväskylä. The ceremonial start has been moved to Wednesday evening, while four Flying Finns will compete in headlining Rally1 Hybrid cars.

They include defending world champion Kalle Rovanperä and three-time Rally Finland winner Jari-Matti Latvala, who is switching back from Toyota team principal duties to drive in the sport’s top level for the first time since February 2020.

Several young drivers aiming to showcase their talents will be in action, including four winners of the AKK Flying Finn Future Star scholarship.

Kai Tarkiainen, Secto Rally Finland Clerk of the Course, said: “The stage is almost set for the 72nd edition of Rally Finland after months of planning and plenty of hard work. With the support of approximately 3500 volunteers, we’re getting ready to put on a fantastic event, which features new stages, the return of some truly classic roads, a Wednesday evening ceremonial start and a new location for Super Sunday. The service park at the Paviljonki offers entertainment for all the family, while the 68-car entry represents a six-year high and is significantly larger than the 44 registrations in 2022. There’s still time to buy tickets so there’s no reason to miss out on this high-speed show. But as well as the volunteers, the rally wouldn’t be possible without all the support of our sponsors and partners and all communities and administrations along the route. We thank everybody for their help and we hope everyone enjoys the show.”


The Rally Finland entertainment begins 24 hours earlier than usual with the ceremonial start getting under way from 20h00 local time on Wednesday August 2 following several attractions starting at 18h30. The first crew will tackle the 4.48-kilometre Rannankylä shakedown stage from 09h01 on Thursday with the mixed-surface Harju stage in Jyväskylä providing the first timed action from 19h05. 

Nine stages over a competitive distance of 108.24 kilometres northeast of Jyväskylä are planned for Friday. The revised Laukaa test, complete with its new opening section, is up first from 08h05 followed by the tweaked Lankamaa stage and Myhinpää, a typical Rally Finland-style rollercoaster road over a distance of 15.51 kilometres. The Halttula stage follows prior to service in Jyväskylä. The Friday morning stages are repeated in the afternoon with a return to the Harju city stage to round out the day’s competition. 

Four double-use stages combine to form Saturday’s challenge and cover a total of 160.68 kilometres. The all-new Västilä is first on the agenda from 08h05, while the Vekkula test is 20.65 kilometres in length and is the rally’s longest stage. 

The deciding Super Sunday leg takes crews south from Jyväskylä and includes twin passes of Moksi-Sahloinen and Himos-Jämsä. Himos-Jämsä will be used as the points-paying Wolf Power Stage following a Tyre Fitting Zone in Himos, the new-for-2023 finishing podium location from 14h15.

Approximately 27 per cent of the competitive distance is new for 2023 as event organiser AKK Sports maintains its policy of freshening up the route each season.

Route numbers:

Stage distance: 320.56 km

Total distance: 1151.07 km

Number of stages: 22


The return of three-time Rally Finland winner Jari-Matti Latvala to the World Rally Championship for his Rally1 debut is among the entry highlights. The 38-year-old stopped driving in the WRC to become Toyota’s team principal for the 2021 season but is now revving up to return to the sport’s top level in one of the four Toyota GR Yaris entered. Juho Hänninen, the 2012 European champion driver, will co-drive his fellow Finn with Latvala selecting #97, the year the old World Rally Car formula was introduced. Appearing on the entry list are nine hybrid-powered Rally1 cars, 36 Rally2 cars, 14 Rally3 cars, eight Rally4 cars, plus one car conforming to the Rally2 Kit regulations. There are 23 nationalities represented with 26 Finnish drivers preparing to take on the WRC’s fastest rally.


Wednesday August 2:

20h00: Ceremonial start (Jyväskylä Harbour)

Thursday August 3:

09h01: Shakedown (Rannankylä, 4.48 km)

11h30: FIA WRC Media Pen (Casa Pirelli, Paviljonki Service Park)

13h45; FIA WRC Meet the Crews live interviews (Secto Stage, Paviljonki Service Park)

14h30: Autograph signing (Secto Stage)

19h05: SSS1 Harju 1

19h40: Flexi-Service A (Paviljonki Service Park)

Friday August 4:

07h15: Start of Section 2

13h02: Service B (Paviljonki Service Park)

20h40: Flexi-Service C (Paviljonki Service Park)

TBC Meet the Crews (Secto Stage, Paviljonki Service Park)

Saturday August 5

06h27: Start of Section 5

13h17: Service D (Paviljonki Service Park)

20h15: Flexi-Service E (Paviljonki Service Park)

TBC Meet the Crews (Secto Stage, Paviljonki Service Park)

Sunday August 6

07h00: Start of Section 7

12h43: Tyre Fitting Zone (Himos)

13h15: Himos-Jämsä 2 (Wolf Power Stage)

14h15: Finish podium (Himos)


Kalle Rovanpera (#69, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, Toyota GR Yaris Rally1)

“You have to be flat out from start to finish and you don’t need to take care of the car so much, because the roads are quite smooth, which makes the rally quite straight forward. It’s always an important event, especially for the Finns. You feel so excited when you see people cheering you and having this support, it’s quite amazing. Doing this rally so close to Estonia helps because it’s a similar style in that Finland is also really fast, although the road surface is softer in Estonia with more ruts. For the mind when you get up to the speed in Estonia you can carry it to Finland and I really enjoy the big speeds. When you have the flow and when you really have the fast corner combinations going well it’s really exciting to drive.”

Esapekka Lappi (#4, Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team, Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid)

“It’s going to be tough to fight for the win because there is always one kid [Kalle Rovanperä] who is too fast all of the time. For sure we try to improve as much as we can, but it’s very limited the time between Estonia and Finland. But last year Hyundai was not quite so competitive in Estonia but won Rally Finland, so it’s possible. We know Toyota will very fast and Kalle will be extremely fast on these roads. This rally is always full of pressure and expectation but every year I’ve managed to turn it as positive energy. Even though there will be very tough competition, I like this rally a lot and I always use my victory in 2017 as inspiration. I’m still trying to get that feeling again and what I had on the finish line after that victory.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (#97, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, Toyota GR Yaris Rally1)

“We are not doing this rally to show we want to continue our career next year, it’s more to make a nice story and have some fun. I used Rally Estonia to a look at some of the small details, like the location of the jack and the nut gun if we have a problem, and also some of the lines from the onboards. But we need to remember that we don’t try to overdo it in Finland. It’s very important to build up the confidence in the correct way and to have a good feeling with the car.”

Sami Pajari (#27, Toksport WRT, Škoda Fabia RS Rally2)

“As a Finn it’s always a special feeling to do a rally at home, even though my home town is Lahti and not Jyväskylä. But I call it my home rally and I know so many people who will be coming to see the rally. The rally has always been on the calendar so from that side it’s a special feeling to compete there. Last year I did the rally in a Rally2 car for the first time and managed to get one stage win so that was really nice. After Rally Estonia we can expect a few more stage wins, certainly that’s what I hope, and we have been improving all the time this season. One of the reasons why I am in the WRC is because of the support I got from the AKK Flying Finn Future Star award for 2019. Without that support I would not be here.”


  • 2022: Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST), Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid
  • 2021: Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR), Toyota Yaris WRC
  • 2020: Event cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 2019: Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST), Toyota Yaris WRC
  • 2018: Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST), Toyota Yaris WRC
  • 2017: Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN), Toyota Yaris WRC
  • 2016: Kris Meeke (GBR)/Paul Nagle (IRL), Citroën DS3 WRC
  • 2015: Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)/Miikka Anttila (FIN), Volkswagen Polo WRC
  • 2014: Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)/Miikka Anttila (FIN), Volkswagen Polo WRC
  • 2013: Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Julien Ingrassia (FRA), Volkswagen Polo WRC

Most WRC event wins: Seven (Marcus Grönholm, Finland)

FAST FACT: Until Carlos Sainz won in 1990, no non-Nordic driver had won Rally Finland, which began life as the Jyväskylän Suurajot (Finnish Grand Prix) in 1951 and was a founding round of the FIA World Rally Championship in 1973.

Photo: Touho Häkkinen

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