Rally Finland, the fastest round of the world championship, is known for its fast sweeping corners, blind crests and tree-lined straights. This is certainly no place for the weak, only the brave.
For Finns like me it’s the highlight of the rallying season, not just for the hundreds and thousands of fans watching on the stages but for the crews, especially when your home is only 120 kilometres down the road and your friends and family have come along to support you.
I’ve been coming to this rally since I was really, really young. My mum used to take me – my father passed away when I was six months old – and one day I hoped my dream would come true and that I could take part myself. Even though the speeds are so high it’s not a frightening experience being a co-driver on this rally. Sure there are some stages you get to with butterflies in your stomach but when you cross the finish line you want more.
Out in the forests the fans have a really big party with plenty of big drinking too! It’s not that they have a problem though – this is still our holiday season and a lot of people take one week of their holiday for the rally. It might look strange the way people end up lying on the floor but they are on holiday and they want to have a good party. During the rally you very seldom go out in Jyvaskyla, where the event is based, but you know there is always a special atmosphere.
'It's a really big party with plenty of big drinking too! It’s not that they have a problem though...'
Co-driving for Kimi Raikkonen on this event is a great experience. He really enjoys this rally because of the high-speed stages and because he’s a Finn. But he’s keeping his feet on the ground because it’s only his second full season of rallying and he’s still learning.
He is quite calm when he drives and has high demands on himself in terms of how to drive and how to perform with the car. In this way you can see he’s a true professional – it’s a new sport for him after all.
We talk in the car when we’re not on the stages, the normal stuff to lighten up the atmosphere and to get relaxed after the stage. We might say a few things as well about how the previous stage went.
Because our days on this rally are very long Kimi needs to get plenty of energy so he will be eating some chicken and pasta but nothing too heavy. He likes to have coffee and some bread with eggs for his breakfast. With service five hours away he needs to eat some food.
Sleeping is quite difficult on this rally. There’s not much time between one day finishing and the next day starting so you don’t have much time but also your adrenalin is still high when you get back to your hotel room so you have to run down your engine before you can sleep. It’s the only way.