The 2022 World Rally Championship season continues this weekend with the eighth round of the Secto Rally Finland. This iconic rally could be a breaking point for teams’ championship hopes.
Kalle Rovanperä has all but won the WRC Championship, having an 83-point lead over second place Thierry Neuville. A win on home soil for Rovanperä can narrow the chances for Neuville to catch up even further. Ott Tänak could move into third place in the championship standings if he gains two more points than Elfyn Evans. Craig Breen should be looking to move into the top five this weekend, as he only sits 13 points behind fifth-place driver Takamoto Katsuta.
Championship Points Before Secto Rally Finland
K. Rovanperä 175
T. Neuville 92
E. Evans 79
O. Tanak 77
T. Katsuta 73
Secto Rally Finland Rundown
Secto Rally Finland pushes drivers to the absolute limit over 322.61km of jumps, crests, and fast corners with little to no margin for error. Rally Finland will start with a single 3.50km spectator stage. On day two, the drivers will face 124.72km over nine stages, ending with a short spectator stage. Day three will be the longest day in terms of stage miles, spanning 150.92km over nine stages. Day four features the final 44.24km of the rally over four stages, including the Wolf Power stage.
What Is Rally Finland
Rally Finland is one of the most historic and iconic rallies on the WRC schedule. The Finnish back roads have been dominated by Finnish drivers, having won 55 out of 70 times the rally has been run. Ott Tänak and Sebastian Leob are the only non-Finnish drivers to win the event more than once.
A Legend Was Born
The 1992 running of Rally Finland saw one of the most iconic rally moments by one of the most iconic rally drivers Colin McRae. McRae, who was sent to Rally Finland to gain experience by Subaru Rally Team Europe, would gain fans’ love after he rolled the car multiple times and would drive off as if it never happened. This is where Colin gained his reputation. McRae would later go on to join the Subaru World Rally Team and win his first WRC rally at Rally New Zealand. McRae would also become one of the most legendary rally drivers of all time, inspiring countless drivers and fans, and it all comes back to his drive in 1992 at Rally Finland.
Can He Make It Three?
Kalle Rovanperä has won the last two events heading into Secto Rally Finland. If he does win Secto Rally Finland, this will be the second time he’s won three straight events this season. The first time he did it, he won Rally Sweden, Croatia Rally, and Rally Portugal. Rovanperä has won five of the seven events this season, only losing Rally Monte Carlo and Safari Rally Kenya.
A Hopeful Bounce Back
The Ford MSport World Rally Team haven’t had the best luck recently, as they haven’t finished in the top five in the last two rallies, with the closest result being Craig Bremen’s sixth place finish at Safari Rally Kenya. Due to mechanical damage, Gus Greensmtih and Pierre-Louis Loubet were both forced to retire from Rally Estonia. Craig Breen placed 30th at Rally Estonia after he went off the road and broke his suspension. Aiden Fourmaux was the shining light for MSport, but he also hasn’t had the best time in the last two rallies after breaking his rear-differential at Safari Rally Kenya.
A New Face On Familiar Soil
Jari Huttunen will make his WRC1 debut this weekend with the Ford MSport World Rally Team. Huttunen placed 11th at Rally Finland 2021 in a WRC2 Hyundai. This year he finished ninth in Rally Sweden, 28th in Croatia Rally, 10th at Rally Italy, and 11th at Rally Estonia in an MSport Ford Fiesta Rally2. For Huttunen, these are familiar roads, as he is from Finland and should be looking to make a top ten finish on home soil.