The fastest and most iconic event on the world rally calendar, Rally Finland, has arrived. And it’s just as blisteringly quick as ever with current rally leader Sebastien Loeb reaching an average speed of 129.7 kilometres per hour on this morning’s 14.22-kilometre Mynnila stage.
Rally Finland, round eight of this year’s World Rally Championship, challenges drivers in the dense Finnish forests with speedy gravel tracks that are littered with trees, crests and hidden jumps. Jumps or ‘yumps’ as they are known in Finland make the cars, quite literally, fly as the drivers tackle the crests flat out in sixth gear.
This high number of jumps has earned Rally Finland the nickname ‘The Rally of the Thousand Jumps’, and it features several gravity-defying moments that helps set rallying apart from other forms of motorsport. And Finland (the Land of a Thousand Lakes) is full of them.
One man that knows all about the high-speed crests is Evgeny Novikov who first shot to fame following his astounding bravery tackling a jump on the Leutsu stage back in 2009. The brave Russian, then 18, reached 146 kilometres per hour and covered a whopping 66 metres at the wheel of his Citroen C4.
Returning to the Rally Finland itinerary this year is the Ouninpohja stage, a speed test that several WRC drivers claim is the best in the world. It is renowned for its high speed sweeping corners and is littered with several top-speed jumps.
Six kilometres into Ouninpohja is a famous jump, known as the ‘yellow house jump’ where competitors famously measure the distance that the cars jump. In 2003, Markko Martin set the record for the longest time in the air as he flew 57 metres over the yellow house yump at 171 kilometres per hour.
Two years later, Gigi Galli was close to beating Martin as he jumped 55 metres, only two metres behind Martin’s best effort, but at a blistering fast pace of 175 km per hour.
But the world’s longest WRC rally jump is still held by none other than eight-time world rally champion, Sebastien Loeb. The Red Bull-backed Frenchman jumped a staggering 85 metres whilst competing on 2010’s Rally of Turkey.