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Kalle Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans headline the icy adventure at the arctic

23.01.2024 / Finnish Rally Championship / Communications

In the enchanting realm of the Arctic Circle, the legendary Arctic Lapland Rally is set to unfold for the 59th time on the 2nd and 3rd of February. This iconic event has attracted a dazzling international lineup, with particular focus naturally falling upon the drivers of Toyota’s WRC team, Kalle Rovanperä and his teammate Elfyn Evans.

Traditionally serving as the opening round for the Finnish Rally Championship, the Arctic Lapland Rally now assumes the role of the second event in the series for the current season. This strategic shift from mid-January to early February offers an ideal testing ground for drivers aiming at the upcoming WRC event in Sweden.

It can be confidently asserted that the move has proven successful. A total of 124 crews will set off on Friday, the 2nd of February, from the Lordi Square in Rovaniemi towards the inaugural stages of the rally. Among these, an impressive 33 are international participants—an unprecedented figure in the recent history of Finnish Rally Championship.

Leading the pack among the entrants is the two-time World Rally Champion, Kalle Rovanperä, who has previously participated in the Rovaniemi based-event in 2020 and the WRC event on the same roads in 2021. This year marks a partial WRC season for Rovanperä, who opts out of the legendary season opener in Monte Carlo to commence his campaign in the Swedish WRC rally. Arctic Circle thus provides Rovanperä with an excellent testing opportunity ahead of the WRC kick-off.

Elfyn Evans, Rovanperä’s teammate and last year’s WRC runner-up, embarks on his first-ever participation in this classic event. However, the Welshman also brings with him some familiarity with the Rovaniemi special stages from the 2021 WRC Arctic Rally Finland.

Jari-Matti Latvala, the team principal of the Toyota WRC team, crowns the strong presence of Toyota in the Arctic Lapland Rally. He, alongside his trusted co-driver Juho Hänninen, will savor the challenging roads of Lapland in the familiar Toyota Celica.

The main category in the Finnish Rally Championship is the class of Rally2 cars and also boasts a formidable lineup of 26 competitors. Among the Finnish contenders in this heated category are Roope Korhonen, who clinched victory in the opening event in Riihimäki and is transitioning to Toyota’s new Rally2 car, defending champion Teemu Asunmaa in the Skoda, and Benjamin Korhola, who finished second in Riihimäki and will be accompanied by the most experienced co-driver in WRC history, Miikka Anttila, in his Hyundai.

The list of guests for this class is equally impressive. Mikko Heikkilä, who joined the European Rally Championship last season, starts his campaign at the arctic with Toyota’s new GR Yaris Rally2 car. Lauri Joona, who secured bronze in the Rally2 class last year, partners with his new navigator Janni Hussi. Experienced and always fast WRC2-driver Nikolay Gryazin will take on the rally with a Citroen C5 Rally2.

Georg Linnamäe from Estonia, competing in the WRC2 class this season, also takes the wheel of a new Toyota. In total, five Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 cars will be seen in Rovaniemi, including Toyota’s junior program drivers Hikaru Kogure and Yuki Yamamoto.

In the Rally3 class the international representation is again most formidable. A total of 16 driver pairs, nine of them from abroad, will be vying for supremacy. Domestic heavyweights and leading drivers of the class, Henri Hokkala, Jesse Kallio, and Toni Herranen, face strong challenges, including last year’s WRC3 class silver medalist, Diego Dominguez from Paraguay.

As for the Rally4 class, the favourites include the winner of the opening rally, Leevi Lassila, and Tuukka Kauppinen. In the class of 1600cc stock cars, current points leader Ville Vatanen seeks his second victory of the season, with stiff competition from Henri Sääskilahti and Lauri Halonen. Finally, in the SM5 class of older 4WD cars, the top duo from Riihimäki, Pekka Keski-Korsu and Arttu Lähdeniemi, launch as the favourites.

Route & itinerary

Leg 1, Friday 2 February 2024

11:01 Ceremonial Start, Lordi Square, Rovaniemi
11:43 SS 1 Aittajärvi 1 / Rautio Oy, 22,47km (Road closed 9.30-16.00)
12:56 SS 2 Mäntyvaara 1 / Lapin Kansa, 3,69km
13:06 Service A / Regroup In, Service Park Mäntyvaara
15:19 SS 3 Siikakämä Kivalo / Lapland Safaris, 26,03km (Road closed 13.00-20.00)
16:32 SS 4 Kaihuavaara / Skoda, 19,62km (Road closed 14.30-21.30)
18:25 SS 5 Mäntyvaara 2 / Mad-Croc Energy, 3,69km
18:35 Service B In, Service Park Mäntyvaara

Leg 2, Saturday 3 February 2024

08:00 Start Leg 2, Service Park Mäntyvaara
08:43 SS 6 Aittajärvi 2 / Rautio Oy, 22,47km (Road closed 6.30-13.30)
09:46 SS 7 Siikakämä, 26,00km (Road closed 07.30-14.30)
10:59 SS 8 Ounasvaara / Kaukomaa, 1,15km
11:29 Service D / Regroup In, Service Park Mäntyvaara
14:12 SS 9 Sarriojärvi 1 / Capital Box, 32,65km (Road closed 12.00-22.00)
16:15 SS 10 Patovaara, 7,26km (Road closed 14.00-21.00)
16:58 SS 11 Kemijärvi, 2,27km (Road closed 14.00-22.00)
18:01 SS 12 Sarriojärvi 2 / Capital Box, 32,65km (Road closed 12.00-22.00)
20:16 Finish Podium, Lordi Square, Rovaniemi

Special Stage distances

Leg 1: 75,50km
Leg 2: 124,45km
Total: 199,95km

Route map »
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Tickets »
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Livestream: Friday | Saturday

FRC standings: 1/7

SM1
1. Roope Korhonen 25p
2. Benjamin Korhola 18p 
3. Anssi Rytkönen 15p 

SM2
1. Henri Hokkala 25p
2. Jesse Kallio 18p
3. Jooa Iivari 15p

SM3
1. Leevi Lassila 25p
2. Niko Kalmi 18p
3. Giovanni Trentin 15p

SM4
1. Ville Vatanen 25p
2. Lauri Halonen 18p
3. Tomi Tikkinen 15p

SM5
1. Pekka Keski-Korsu 25p
2. Arttu Lähdeniemi 18p
3. Juha Salminen 15p

Teams
1. Rautio Motorsport 43p
2. Printsport Racing 37p
3. Ouneva Oy 26p

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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Photo: TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT

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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