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Mikko Heikkilä raised his first reindeer antlers at the legendary Arctic Lapland Rally

06.02.2024 / Finnish Rally Championship / Communications

The Finnish Rally Championship series continued last weekend in Rovaniemi with the second event of the season, the Arctic Lapland Rally. Celebrating its 60th anniversary next year, this classic event provided exciting moments and varied conditions for both drivers and rally fans.

Over the weekend, rally enthusiasts had the opportunity to witness the performance of Rally1 hybrid rally cars in Rovaniemi, as Toyota’s world rally team drivers Kalle Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans competed in a testing fashion for the upcoming Swedish WRC event. The Toyota drivers gathered valuable data as the conditions ranged from Friday’s sunshine to Saturday’s intense snowstorm.

Rovanperä took control of the rally right from the opening stage on Friday and maintained his position all the way to the overnight break. Saturday began similarly, and by the midday service, the gap to Evans had grown to over half a minute.

“Getting data from all kinds of conditions is good because we don’t know what the conditions will be like in Sweden two weeks from now. We’ve adjusted the suspension geometry and differentials to improve the car’s balance,” explained Rovanperä in an interview with Yle Sport Studio.

As they approached the final special stage, SS12 Sarriojärvi, the lead had extended to nearly a minute. However, just towards the end of the stage, Rovanperä encountered a technical issue that forced them to pull over to the side. With the help of spectators, Rovanperä managed to finish the stage.

“A few kilometers before the finish, we had a technical issue. We got close to the end, but we had good help on the stage who pushed us to the finish. We even stopped there to eat rally sausages,” Rovanperä joked at the finish.

Evans struggled with car setup on the opening day but expressed satisfaction with the car and conditions on Saturday. Due to Rovanperä’s retirement, Evans claimed the overall victory in the 59th Arctic Lapland Rally.

“I think it was good that we came here. However, I’m not sure if it gave any confidence for Sweden; there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Evans commented.

Toyota team manager Jari-Matti Latvala, driving a historic-class Toyota Celica, enjoyed the Lapland stages despite facing technical issues. Latvala received a seven-minute penalty for being late at the time control after the midday service.

“It was a really nice rally, and it was great to finally finish. Unfortunately, there were technical problems, but there’s no need to be too upset about it,” said Latvala.

A surprising stat from Latvala’s long career revealed that this year’s Arctic Rally was his third and the first where he managed to reach the finish line. In 2006, he retired due to going off road, and in 2022, it was due to technical issues. Latvala also revealed that he would participate in the next round of the Finnish Rally Championship, which takes place in his hometown, Tuuri.

A historic win for the brand-new Toyota GR Yaris Rally2

In the SM1 class of Rally2 cars, Teemu Asunmaa, the defending champion, started the season in Rovaniemi strongly. Leading for most of the event, he eventually succumbed to Mikko Heikkilä on the ninth special stage. Heikkilä, driving a new Toyota GR Yaris Rally2, secured the victory, claiming his first reindeer antlers, the traditional trophy of the Arctic Lapland Rally.

“It’s a miracle that we won; we had about 40 snowbank touches on this last stage alone. Probably Teemu also had some less intended action. We went above the safe limit, but it’s good like this. It’s my first reindeer antlers, so let’s celebrate a bit,” Heikkilä joyfully remarked.

Roope Korhonen secured the third position in SM1, consolidating his lead in the championship standings.

In the SM2 class of Rally3 cars, Henri Hokkala secured his first class victory in the Arctic Lapland Rally. Jooa Iivari made a fierce late charge, reducing the gap to 0.8 seconds by the end but fell just short of victory. Paraguayan guest Diego Dominguez Berajano claimed the third position.

In the SM3 class of rally 4 cars, Tuukka Kauppinen dominated the competition, extending the lead over Leevi Lassila to over two minutes.

The Flying Finn Future Star competition, held in conjunction with SM2 and SM3 classes, saw five participants battling for a chance to win a complete rally package for the Finnish WRC event.

Ville Vatanen continued his strong performance in the SM4 class, winning the Arctic Lapland Rally comfortably. Tomi Tikkinen claimed the second position.

In the SM5 class, Arttu Lähdeniemi overcame various challenges to secure victory. Miikka Vuokila finished second despite going off the road, and Pekka Keski-Korsu completed his comeback from an earlier retirement to take the third position.

59th Arctic Lapland Rally: Results 

Overall
1. Elfyn Evans 1:36:00,5
2. Mikko Heikkilä +5:02,3
3. Teemu Asunmaa +5:09,6
4. Roope Korhonen +5:38,0
5. Georg Linnamäe +5:59,3

SM1
1. Mikko Heikkilä 1:41:02,8
2. Teemu Asunmaa +7,3
3. Roope Korhonen +35,7
4. Georg Linnamäe +57,0
5. Benjamin Korhola +1:37,5

SM2
1. Henri Hokkala 1:45:41,9
2. Jooa Iivari +0,8
3. Diego Dominguez Bejarano +58,0
4. Toni Herranen +5:17,1
5. Jesse Kallio +5:43,3

SM3
1. Tuukka Kauppinen 1:51:02,4
2. Leevi Lassila +3:54,0
3. Juhana Raitanen +3:54,0
4. Ossi Pohjanharju +5:23,8
5. Thomas Martens +7:44,1

SM4
1. Ville Vatanen 1:59:30,6
2. Tomi Tikkinen +1:52,4
3. Roope Hirvonen +2:28,1
4. Lauri Halonen +2:57,0
5. Joonas Ojala +3:16,3

SM5
1. Arttu Lähdeniemi 1:54:35,3
2. Miikka Vuokila +1:55,1
3. Pekka Keski-Korsu +3:06,5
4. Yrjö Martti +6:21,5
5. Mika Pulju +8:03,2

All results »

Finnish Rally Championship standings: 2/7

SM1
1. Roope Korhonen 45p
2. Mikko Heikkilä 34p 
3. Benjamin Korhola 34p 
4. Anssi Rytkönen 26p
5. Teemu Asunmaa 25p

SM2
1. Henri Hokkala 59p
2. Jooa Iivari 40p
3. Jesse Kallio 34p
4. Ville Ruokanen 23p 
5. Toni Herranen 20p 

SM3
1. Leevi Lassila 50p
2. Tuukka Kauppinen 34p
3. Ossi Pohjanharju 28p 
4. Giovanni Trentin 24p 
5. Raoul Dahlqvist 21p

SM4
1. Ville Vatanen 59p
2. Tomi Tikkinen 40p
3. Lauri Halonen 34p
4. Roope Hirvonen 28p 
5. Joonas Ojala 13p 

SM5
1. Arttu Lähdeniemi 52p
2. Pekka Keski-Korsu 45p
3. Miikka Vuokila 25p
4. Rasmus Tuominen 21p 
5. Yrjö Martti 16p 

Teams
1. Rautio Motorsport 97p
2. RTE-Motorsport 84p
3. Printsport 68p
4. Ouneva Oy 60p 
5. TGS Motorsport 52p 

Flying Finn Future Star

Finland is famous for its internationally successful rally drivers - both in past years, now and hopefully in the future as well.

In 2014, AKK Sports Oy, the organizer of Secto Rally Finland, the organizer of the Finnish World Cup rally, founded the Flying Finn Future Star program, which maps promising rally drivers, to accelerate the path of young talents towards an international breakthrough and the top of the world.

The driver who wins the program has received a significant prize from the beginning. In 2024, the winner will be offered participation in the 2024 Secto Rally Finland as a prize. He gets to show his skills on the gravel roads of the Finnish World Rally Championship with a complete competition package, including M-Sport's Ford Fiesta Rally3 car and a maintenance package: tires, fuel, participation fees, a test before the race, training and coaching, as well as consulting for managing PR and media relations. 

Read more here »

FRC calendar 2024

1) 12.-13.1. Riihimäki rally, Riihimäki (FJRC)
2) 1.-3.2. 59. Arctic Lapland Rally, Rovaniemi
3) 8.-9.3. Tuuri Rally, Alavus (FJRC)
4) 24.-25.5. Länsirannikon Rally, Turku (FJRC)
5) 14.-15.6. Pohjanmaa Rally, Seinäjoki (FJRC)
6) 23.-24.8. Rally Lahti, Lahti (FJRC)
7) 4.-5.10. Rally Kitee, Kitee (FJRC)

Contact details

Sporting Executive

Henrik Frank
henrik.frank@autourheilu.fi
040 534 9977

Promoter

Mika Heinonen
mika.heinonen@autourheilu.fi
045 7730 5990

Commercial

Lassi Liimatainen
lassi.liimatainen@autourheilu.fi
050 325 1120

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Follow Arctic Lapland Rally

www.arcticrally.fi
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Photo: Taneli Niinimäki / AKK

Score top 5

1. Roope Korhonen / Anssi Viinikka 70 points LMM (Rally2)
2. Benjamin Korhola / Sebastian Virtanen 49 points VihUA (Rally2)
3. Anssi Rytkönen / Mikael Korhonen 38 points KoMoKe (R5)
4. Mikko Heikkilä / Kristian Temonen 34 points MäntsMK (Rally2)
5. Niclas Grönholm / Kristian Temonen 31 points EMSC (Rally2)

< See all >

Calendar 2024

1) 12.-13.1. SM Auto Sorsa Riihimäki-Ralli, Riihimäki
2) 1.-3.2. 59. Arctic Lapland Rally, Rovaniemi
3) 8.-9.3. SM Tuuri Ralli, Alavus
4) 24.-25.5. SM Mad-Croc Länsirannikon Ralli, Turku
5) 14.-15.6. SM Pohjanmaa Ralli, Seinäjoki
6) 23.-24.8. Future SM-ralli, Lahti
7) 4.-5.10. SM Ralli Kitee, Kitee

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