Rally Finland returns to its familiar summer slot and is again back in its full four-day format, both for the first time since 2019. The route has a new things like always, including three more or less surprising nice returns.
Cover image by Tapio Lehtonen (C)
The shakedown is this year at Rannankylä, which was used as the shakedown in 2010 (as Muurame). It has also featured as a stage in the rally at least in 1965.
The rally starts again with Harju, which has a new route. Having descended down, instead of entering the small forest section, the route will now take a shortcut turning left. The route extends further back to the street where the stage starts. It will make a loop and go back for a second round, making up 3.5 km in total.
Friday stages are driven East, North and West of Jyväskylä in three loops.
We start with Laukaa, which will be good for comparing the pace of the new Rally1 cars to WRC cars as this stage was driven similarly in 2019 and 2021. Lankamaa makes a welcome return, in similar format as 2017 (likely without chicanes) but reversed, and sadly without latomutka. It is also the longest stage of the rally at 21 km.
There is a service in Paviljonki already after completing these stages for the first time, and then a another midday service after the second passes. However, the second loop adds the second run of Harju which is shorter, without the twin-loop structure.
The afternoon contains two double-run stages familiar from last year, Ässämäki and Sahloinen – Moksi, although the latter one is shortened by removing the last small road section.
Saturday takes the crews South-West. First up is Päijälä, in same format as 2019 but with the fastest section cut from the end. Then we go to Rapsula, which is essentially a combination of Kakaristo 2019 and Arvaja 2021 with a shortcut in between, containing a junction on tarmac.
Patajoki was a new addition for last year, and now it’s shortened a bit. It starts now from where Kalle Rovanperä crashed out last year, but the small road is driven in the opposite direction, and the old route is soon joined in the same direction after a bit of the Vaheri road not used last year.
The most interesting stage of the whole rally is likely Vekkula, which is essentially Ehikki with some new spices and sections borrowed from Leustu. The exact route of the stage is yet unknown, but according to the assistant clerk of the course Kari Nuutinen there will be 15 junction turns and many road types, as well as 10 km of roads likely not driven in any rallies before.
Sunday contains two short stages South and East of Jyväskylä. Oittila is shortened from last year, with the technical small road taken out from the end (but containing the new small road added for last year). This makes also the liaison a lot shorter for the next stage. The power stage is once again Ruuhimäki, in the same format as the last three times.
It’s nice to see the route team come up with constantly new things, and some old classics returning. At the same time it’s a bit sad to see the stages become shorter and shorter, and some very nice sections left out (Oittila, Sahloinen – Moksi). Furthermore, the new regulations don’t allow really single-run stages anymore. However, it’s interesting to see how the speed of the rally will pan out with the new Rally1 cars.
EDIT 10.3.2022 added note about reversed Lankamaa