After a break of six years I was again able to drive this race which is one of my favorites. My first time in Lahti was in 2009 with a Ford Escort, later I drove there with Audi Quattro and now Toyota Celica.
The rally started at the Orimattila area and right away on the first stage the oil filter of the gearbox came off, spilling all the oil out. The car was now more or less only a two-wheel drive because there was no oil in the box and the pressure of the center diff was lost. A center diff shares the power between front and rear axles.
After stage three the car was fixed in the service and I could drive stages four to six normally but then again it was time for another problem. While pressing the clutch the sound of the car changed indicating that the crankshaft was moving. This was caused by the failure of the slack bearings of the crankshaft. If the crankshaft is able to move, it may cause total damage in the engine.
After stage six in the evening service the mechanics decided to change the bearings from underneath because I did not want to retire. That was very challenging but my mechanics did a brilliant job and they managed to do the change in 54 minutes which was only nine minutes over the limit and our time penalty was only one minute thirty seconds. Had it been 15 minutes over the limit we would have been forced to retire.
Day two of the race was driven at the Lammi area where stage seven, Ylänne, was my favorite. I drove as fast as I could which made my co- driver Juho Hänninen state in the finish that we had gone so much sideways he had felt it safer to keep his eyes on the note book and not look outside at all.
The stages of day two were very nice and the Celica ran perfectly so it was pure enjoyment.
After twelve stages we won the rally by 2,5 minutes before Kari Kivenne/Asko Sairanen (Audi) and Sami Pajari /Janni Hussi. My sixth victory in Lahti with three different makes of a car.