Lahti Historic Rally 2012

This rally is a tradition of mine if I have time. If this rally is on its usual place – a week after Nesteoil rally – I have time. I could not test our Escort BDA after Rally Estonia but I assumed everything would be in order. The first stage in Lahti was driven between Vääksy and Lammi and the road surface was hard. It was a cold morning so the road was slippery but in the middle of the stage the grip started to be found. I drove like in the WRC series so we were the fastest. On the next stages I increased my pace which was very hard for the engine and the transmission. Stage five (Hyväneula) was in Nesteoil rally 2011, a familiar stage for me which is why I drove the fastest ever on BDA. My co-driver Asko Sairanen tried to make me drive slower but I did not listen to him. Asko was persistent so I promised to ease up a bit on the next stages. Asko said to me that if I drove faster we would hit the trees. I drove 120km/h throughout the stage that was 26 km long. After Hyväneula the engine started to malfunction and there were two gears missing. Frank Cunningham’s service lent us a gearbox, again. We could not do anything to the malfunction but to hope that the engine would last the second day, Saturday. On stage seven on Saturday we were able to reach gear number five with 9500 rpm when the engine lost one of its cylinders. I tried to drive a bit more but after one kilometer the engine died totally and started to burn. I had to struggle with the fire extinguisher which took me so long that the damage was quite bad. I had to retire and there was lots of work to be done with the engine.



Auto24 Rally Estonia Historic 2012

The summer in Finland was not warm enough to be spent in the summer cottage so I decided to spend my spare time driving a rally in Otepää, Estonia. This rally was a part of the Historic European championships series. I took part in Rally Estonia in 2003 with a WRC Toyota Corolla but then it was a winter rally and now it was a summer rally and the stages all new to me. The roads were fast and smooth and there were jumps but they were easier than in Finland. I was the first car on the road but my Michelin tyres guaranteed a good grip on the gravel. We had trouble with our transmission in the shakedown so we had to lend a gearbox from an Irishman Frank Cunningham. Helped by our friends our mechanics changed the gearbox and off we went. The BDA felt very fast because of its differences from a WRC car. After a while I got used to it. I did not want to take any risks but I tried to drive as fast as I could, not saving the car. My driving has always been hard for the cars. There was a moving service like in the old days. This suits well to these Historic events. These two rally days were well organized and there were lots of spectators. No trouble and no wet stages except the last one made the rally a pleasure. It was also pleasant to listen to the BDA with its 10 500 rpm. We won all the stages and the whole rally. A Norwegian Valter Jensen was second. The time differences were big but they should be after all I am a professional driver in the world championships series. If those who drive as their hobby were faster than me maybe I had a wrong profession.


POP Pankki SM-Ralli 2012

In autumn 2011 the suspension arm of our BDA Escort broke down and the car went off the road in rally Kerava. The car was badly damaged and we had to start rebuilding it. It took us about eight months but we were able to finish it just before rally Lapua which was the first summer event in this year’s Finnish championships series. Some improvements were made, too. I had a small break from the series so I wanted to go and try this renewed racing car of ours. There was a bit excitement in the air before the start because I hadn’t driven a rear wheel drive for a long time but after the first corner the excitement was all gone. The engine was doing 9000 rpm and the rear wheels were steering. There was a minor problem on the first stage when the air filter clogged up and the engine didn’t get enough air. The engine could only do 6000 rpm (normally 6000 rpm – 9000 rpm) and going forward was slow. We lost almost a minute because of that but luckily the problem was fixed in the service. On stages two and three I found the old feeling again and my driving started to be more relaxed and enjoyable. At the end of the stage three I hit the handbrake a bit too fast and we span. Stage four was the last one. My co-driver and I drove flat out although the roads were not so good anymore because our starting position was closer to one hundred. The race was good for us because we won Historic -81 class in spite of the minor problem at the beginning of the rally. This renewed racing car of ours has a better drive grip than earlier and the engine works better than before.


Go to Top