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WRC - Fast & famous Rally Finland all set for gravel action


2023 Secto Rally Finland - Round 9 of 13 - Event Preview

2022 WRC - Rally Finland - M-Sport Ford WRT Puma Rally1 Hybrid (photo: Nikos Katikis / DPPI)

The FIA World Rally Championship’s high-speed double-header continues with Secto Rally Finland from August 3-6, two weeks after Rally Estonia provided a generous helping of epic gravel-based action.

A founding round of the WRC back in 1973, the 72nd edition of Rally Finland features a route that’s 27 per cent new compared to 2022 as organiser AKK Sports continues its policy of varying the itinerary each season.

Its efforts, which are supported by approximately 3500 volunteers, have been rewarded with a 68-car entry, the highest amount in six years, such is the popularity of the event and the WRC as a whole. While Finland is well represented with 26 crews, drivers from a further 22 countries will be taking part.

All the FIA rally car categories are represented on the Rally Finland entry list with nine hybrid-powered Rally1 cars, 36 Rally2 cars, 14 Rally3 cars and eight Rally4 cars set to take part. There is also one car conforming to the Rally2 Kit regulations.

Two notable entrants include Jari-Matti Latvala, who scored three of his 18 WRC wins in Finland, and Justus Räikkönen, who was 17 when he made his Rally Finland debut last season.  

Having concentrated on his role as Team Principal of Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC since January 2021, Rally Finland is Latvala’s first WRC outing since Sweden in 2020 and his first in Rally1 machinery. Justus Räikkönen, meanwhile, is the 18-year-old nephew Kimi Räikkönen, winner of the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship and he will drive a Peugeot 208 Rally4 as a non-priority driver.

Two new-format media and promotional activities trialled on Rally Estonia will be repeated in Finland with FIA WRC Media Pen and FIA WRC Meet the Crews live interview sessions taking place on Thursday.

Aimed at increasing spectator accessibility as well as refreshing the existing offering to accredited media, the tweaks are part of ongoing efforts by the FIA and WRC Promoter to further enhance the show and media service offering.

With doubling motor sport participation across the globe one of FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s key targets, it’s essential that the WRC becomes even stronger by being more accessible and more appealing. 

All Rally1 cars competing on Rally Finland will use the Scorpion KX soft and hard tyres from official supplier Pirelli. The soft compound is the first choice for use in cool and damp conditions, while the hard compound is for warm and dry weather. Rally1 teams can use a maximum of 28 tyres for the event including four for Shakedown.



Following the 4.48-kilometre Rannankylä shakedown stage from 09:01 hrs on Thursday August 3, the mixed-surface Harju test in Jyväskylä forms the first timed competition of Rally Finland 2023 from 19:05. 

Friday’s opening leg covers 108.24 competitive kilometres northeast of Jyväskylä with four repeated stages either side of service in the host city before a return to Harju in the evening. At 160.68 timed kilometres, Saturday’s leg is the longest with twin visits to four stages split by service in Jyväskylä. 

Sunday’s route consists of two double-use stages and covers 51.64 kilometres. It’s based around the town of Himos where a Tyre Fitting Zone and the podium finish will be located. Among the many stage highlights is the return of Myhinpää, which is back having not been used since 2015, while Västilä is an all-new stage. The 20.65-kilometre Vekkula test is the longest of the rally. 



Stage distance: 320.56 km
Total distance: 1151.07 km
Number of stages: 22



Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT: World champion and provisional championship leader Kalle Rovanperä heads the Toyota line-up as he bids to win his home WRC event for the first time. Jyväskylä-based Japanese Takamoto Katsuta and Elfyn Evans, the 2021 Rally Finland winner, are also chasing Manufacturers’ championship points for Toyota. Jari-Matti Latvala competes in a fourth Yaris.

Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team: After making his return to the WRC’s top level for his first world championship start driving a Rally1 car in Estonia, Teemu Suninen continues in the third Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid on his home round of the WRC. Fellow Finn Esapekka Lappi and Belgian Thierry Neuville also fly the Hyundai flag.

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team: Ott Tänak defends his Rally Finland title following his 2022 triumph. Pierre-Louis Loubet drives the British squad’s second Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid.



Yohan Rossel (PH Sport Citroën C3 Rally2) heads the provisional FIA WRC2 standings, but Andreas Mikkelsen is closing fast after winning back-to-back events driving a Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia RS Rally2.

Adrien Fourmaux is the highest-seeded Ford Fiesta Rally2 driver, while Emil Lindholm, the WRC2 champion from 2022, starts his first Rally Finland since switching to a Hyundai i20 N Rally2.

Roope Korhonen steps up from FIA WRC3 as a four-time winner to WRC2 and is one of 26 Finnish drivers taking part and one of 36 competing in a Rally2 car. 

Among the 68-car entry, the highest on the event in six years, are 14 Rally3 cars and eight Rally4 cars.




Media accreditation

Media accreditation must be collected in person by accredited pass holders from the Accreditation Desk, Kortepohja Conference Room, Second Floor, Sokos Hotel Alexandra, Hannikaisenkatu 35, FII-40100 Jyväskylä, Finland. 

The Accreditation Desk is open as follows:
Tuesday August 1: 14:00-18:00 hrs 
Wednesday August 2: 09:00-22:00 hrs
Thursday August 3: 08:00-22:00 hrs
Friday August 4: 07:00-23:00 hrs


Media Centre

The Media Centre is located in Exhibition Hall A, Jyväskylä Paviljonki, Lutakonaukio 12, FI-40100 Jyväskylä, Finland. 

It is open as follows:
Tuesday August 1: 14:00-20:00 hrs 
Wednesday August 2: 09:00-20:00 hrs
Thursday August 3: 08:00-20:00 hrs
Friday August 4: 07:00-13:00 hrs


Media activities and opportunities 

Wednesday August 2 
Tabard Media safety briefing, K308 Cabinet, Third Floor, Paviljonki16:30
Pre-podium launch, Jyväskylä Harbour18:30
Finnish Airforce Big Band performs18:30
Signing the contracts (AKK, WRC, Jyväskylä, Secto)19:00
Performance by Finnish artist Stig19:10
Finnish Air Force Midnight Hawks19:25
Opening of the event by the Mayor of Jyväskylä 19:59
Ceremonial start, Jyväskylä harbour20:00
Thursday August 3 
Shakedown for P1 and invited P2 drivers, Rannankylä09:01 – 10:30
Shakedown for all Priority drivers, Rannankylä10:30 – 12:00
FIA WRC Media Pen, in front of Casa Pirelli, Paviljonki SP11:30 – 13:00
Shakedown for non-Priority drivers, Rannankylä12:00 – 13:00 
FIA WRC Meet the Crews, Secto Stage, Paviljonki SP13:45 – 14:30
Autograph signing, Secto Stage, Paviljonki SP14:30 – 14:55
All P1 drivers14:30 – 15:00
Invited P2 drivers, group 1 (Greensmith, Heikkilä Korhonen, Lindholm, Mikkelsen, Virves)15:00 – 15:15
Invited P2 drivers, group 2 (Fourmaux, Huttunen, Joona, Pajari, Rossel, Solberg)15:15 – 15:30
Start of Section 118:42
Media zone, Paviljonki SPApprox. 19:15
Friday August 4 
Start of Section 207:15
Media zone, Paviljonki SPApprox. 12:00
Media zone, Paviljonki SPApprox. 20:15
Meet the Crews feat. P1 Team Principals & Top 3 drivers, Secto StageApprox 21:00
Saturday August 5 
Start of Section 506:27
Media zone, Paviljonki SPApprox. 12:00
Media zone, Paviljonki SPApprox. 20:15
Meet the Crews feat. P1 Team Principals & Top 3 drivers, Secto StageApprox. 20:45
Sunday August 6 
Start of Section 707:00
Media zone, HimosApprox. 11:15
Media zone, podium holding area, HimosApprox. 13:45
Finish podium (Himos)14:15
Media zone, Paviljonki SPApprox. 15:30
FIA WRC Post-event Press Conference, Paviljonki Media Centre16:00


Media Pen – Thursday 3 August

The FIA WRC Media Pen will be operational from 11:30 – 13:00 hrs adjacent to Casa Pirelli in the Paviljonki Service Park. It’s mandatory for all P1 drivers and invited P2 drivers, as well as P1 Manufacturer team representatives, plus any other priority driver or co-driver invited by the FIA Media Delegate or National Press Officer. Drivers are required to take give interviews for a minimum 30-minute duration or until dismissed by the FIA Media Delegate. P2 drivers are recommended to attend from 12:15 hrs.


Media zones

Media Zones attended by all drivers and selected team representatives will operate as follows: TC1A, 5A, 10A, 14A, 18A, 21A, 22B

The Holding Area after the STOP control of the Power Stage is also open to the media. However, the winner of the rally (provided it will be the one predicted when making the Power Stage running order) will not stop at the STOP control but drives directly to the podium for prize-giving ceremonies.


FIA WRC Meet the Crews interview opportunity attendance, Thursday August 3

13:45 – FIA WRC2/FIA WRC3:
WRC2: Toksport WRT3 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), Škoda Fabia RS
WRC2: Hyundai Motorsport N – Emil Lindholm (FIN), Hyundai i20 N Rally2
WRC2 Challenger: Toksport WRT 2 – Enni Mälkönen (FIN), Škoda Fabia RS Rally 2 
WRC3: Benjamin Korhola (FIN), Ford Fiesta Rally3

14:00 –P1 Manufacturer team representatives:
Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team – Christian Loriaux (BEL)
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team – Richard Millener (GBR)
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Akio Toyoda (JPN)

14:10 – FIA WRC: 
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT – Esapekka Lappi (FIN), Hyundai i20 N Rally 1 Hybrid
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team – Martin Järveojä (EST), Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team – Pierre-Louis Loubet (FRA), Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Kalle Rovanperä (FIN), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid


FIA Post-event Press Conference (Media Centre), 16:00 hrs, Sunday August 6

Top 3 drivers in overall classification plus winning co-driver
Representative of winning manufacturer
Winning WRC2 drivers (WRC2, WRC2 Challenger)
Winning WRC3 driver
Winning WRC Masters Cup driver



Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT     Kalle Rovanperä (FIN)/Jonne Halttunen (FIN) - #69
 Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR) - #33
 Takamoto Katsuta (JPN)/Aaron Johnston (IRL) - #18    
Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team  Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) - #11                        
 Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) - #4
 Teemu Suninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) -#3
M-Sport Ford World Rally TeamOtt Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) - #8
                        Pierre-Louis Loubet (FRA)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) - #7



The provisional classifications following round 8 of the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship are available here.



1.O. Tänak (EST)/M. Järveoja (EST)Hyundai i20 N Rally12h24m04.6s
2.K. Rovanperä (FIN)/J. Halttunen (FIN)Toyota GR Yaris Rally1+6.8s
3.E. Lappi (FIN)/J. Ferm (FIN)Toyota GR Yaris Rally1+1m20.7s



2022Ott Tänak/ Martin JärveojaHyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid
2021Elfyn Evans/Scott MartinToyota Yaris WRC
2019Ott Tänak/ Martin JärveojaToyota Yaris WRC
2018Ott Tänak/ Martin JärveojaToyota Yaris WRC
2017Esapekka Lappi/Janne FermToyota Yaris WRC

*Rally Finland 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic