The enthralling 2017 FIA World Rally Championship season is all set to scale new heights on Neste Rally Finland (July 27-30), the fastest and most spectacular round on the calendar.
Last year’s event was the fastest in WRC history, with Kris Meeke winning it at an average speed of 126.6 km/h. With the new generation of World Rally Cars for 2017 featuring more power and greater aerodynamics, this year it could be even quicker.

It s certain to be a great spectacle as some of the world s best drivers take on the famously fast Finnish stages, flying over the numerous crests and jumps along tree-lined gravel roads.

25 July 2017

The rally will be contested over 25 stages totalling 314.2 competitive kilometres, all based around the city of Jyväskylä in central Finland, about 270 kilometres north of the capital Helsinki.

Classic stages and marathon tests

Once again the mixed-surface Harju stage in Jyväskylä will kick-start the rally on Thursday evening, and it will feature again when the crews return at the end of a mammoth day of action on Friday, consisting of 12 stages, 145.71 kilometres and nearly 16 hours from start to finish. Halinen, Urria and Jukojärvi are all run twice in the morning, before the ÄänekoskiValtra and Laukaa tests are repeated in the afternoon either side of a pass over Lankamaa.

Saturday is made up of four stages run twice, including the world-famous Ouninpohja, which will be run in the opposite direction to last year. Sunday is the same as in 2016, with the Lempää and Oittila stages providing the final action, with the latter used as the Power Stage.

Four manufacturers poised for close fight

The new era of the WRC has been closely fought so far, with all four manufacturers having claimed wins and a title duel that s covered by only 11 points going into Finland. Sébastien Ogier has had the upper hand in his search for a fifth straight title, driving M-Sport s Ford Fiesta WRC, but he has been chased down by Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, who has already won three times this year. Both have some quick team-mates too: at M-Sport, Ott Tänak broke his win duck in Sardinia and Elfyn Evans came close in Argentina, while Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo have also shown Hyundai’s strength.

The bulk of the local support will probably be with the new Toyota team, based locally, headed by Tommi Mäkinen and with Jari-Matti Latvala, Juho Hänninen and Esapekka Lappi as its drivers. For Citroën the season hasn’t gone as planned so far, but Kris Meeke and Craig Breen mastered the Finnish stages last year when they finished first and third respectively.

Fast young Finns out to thrill at home

Lappi impressed when he recently finished fourth on only his second rally at the highest level in Sardinia, and that was promptly followed by Teemu Suninen shining on his debut in a fourth M-Sport-run Fiesta WRC in Poland. He’ll be out to build upon sixth on his home event, where he burst onto the scene three years ago as the first Future Rally Star of Finland. His successors as winners of that award, Jari Huttunen and Juuso Nordgren, will compete for WRC2 honours this time around against the likes of Ole Christian Veiby. Also stepping up to the category this year is Max Vatanen (son of 1981 world champion and two-time Rally Finland winner Ari) after his class triumph in 2016.

This year s Future Rally Star of Finland is Emil Lindholm, who gets a prize drive in the Junior WRC in a Ford Fiesta R2T. He ll be out to halt Spaniard Nils Solans undefeated run in 2017.


Sébastien Ogier: Rally Finland is most definitely a highlight in the season. The Finns certainly know how to deliver a good rally, and these gravel roads are tailor-made for rallying. It s fast – really fast – and the big jumps and high grip levels offer an incredible sense of speed that every driver looks forward to. At that pace, you re fighting for tenths of a second and I m expecting a very close battle.

Thierry Neuville: Finland can be a tricky event. The margin of error is small due to the high speeds and complexities of the track, but we are confident of putting on a good show. We hope the team’s performance can be a catalyst for further success towards the end of the season.

Jari-Matti Latvala: Along with Monte-Carlo, Finland is the rally that everyone wants to win; especially if you are Finnish. There s pressure to do well, but it s a positive pressure. No doubt about my target: victory. I’m feeling confident, but I don’t think there s such a thing as a big home advantage for Finnish drivers anymore. Now that so many of the stages are used every year, the other drivers have got a lot of experience as well. I’m expecting a big fight.

Kris Meeke: Rally Finland has always been one of my favourite events, but it became even more special after my win here last year. You have some of the best gravel roads in the world here and it can be an awful lot of fun drive on them. I’m pleased to be back behind the wheel of the C3 WRC, although I’m expecting it to be a tough rally.

Stages: 25
Competitive distance: 314.2 kilometres
Total distance: 1425.96 kilometres
Longest stage: 24.38 kilometres (Ouninpohja)
Shortest stage: 2.31 kilometres (Harju)
Entries received: 65
Nationalities represented: 21
WRC appearances: 44
Most wins (during WRC era): 7 (Marcus Grönholm)

2016: Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC)
2015: Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)
2014: Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)
2013: Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)
2012: Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citroën DS3 WRC)
2011: Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citroën DS3 WRC)
2010: Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Ford Focus RS WRC)
2009: Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Focus RS WRC)
2008: Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citroën C4 WRC)
2007: Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen (Ford Focus RS WRC)

1 Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC
2 Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) Ford Fiesta WRC
3 Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Dan Barritt (GBR) Ford Fiesta WRC
4 Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
5 Hayden Paddon (NZL)/Sebastian Marshall (GBR) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
6 Dani Sordo (ESP)/Marc Martí (ESP) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
7 Kris Meeke (GBR)/Paul Nagle (IRL) Citroën C3 WRC
8 Khalid Al-Qassimi (UAE)/Chris Patterson (GBR) Citroën C3 WRC
9 Craig Breen (IRL)/Scott Martin (GBR) Citroën C3 WRC
10 Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)/Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC
11 Juho Hänninen (FIN)/Kaj Lindström (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC
12 Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC
14 Mads Østberg (NOR)/Torstein Eriksen (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC
15 Teemu Suninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) Ford Fiesta WRC

RALLY ESSENTIALS (all timings local)
Starts: 18:42, Thursday 27 July, Service Park, Paviljonki, Jyväskylä
Finishes: 14:31, Sunday 30 July, Service Park, Paviljonki, Jyväskylä
Headquarters: Jyväskylä Paviljonki Lutakonaukio 12, FI-40100 Jyväskylä, Finland
Service park: Paviljonki, Jyväskylä
Shakedown: Ruuhimäki (4.81 kilometres), 08:00-09:30 (for P1 drivers), 09:30-11:30 (for P1-P3 drivers, optional), 11:30-13:30 (non-priority drivers), Thursday 28 July

MEDIA INFORMATION (all timings local)
Media accreditation: Rakentajantalo, Hannikaisenkatu 17, 40100 Jyväskylä
Opening times: 14:00-18:00, Tuesday 25 July; 09:00-22:00, Wednesday 26 July; 07:00-19:00, Thursday 27 July
Media centre: Jyväskylä Paviljonki, Messukatu 10, 40100 Jyväskylä
Opening times: 14:00-18:00, Tuesday 25 July; 09:00-22:00, Wednesday 26 July; 07:00-24:00, Thursday 27 July; 06:00-24:00, Friday 28 July; 06:30-24:00, Saturday 29 July; 07:00-22:00, Sunday 30 July
Photographers briefing: 17:00-19:00, Wednesday 26 July, Media Centre, Paviljonki (mandatory for national and rally-by-rally photographers)
Meet the crews sessions: To be held at 12:30 on Thursday and during the end-of-day service halts on Friday and Saturday on the podium in the Paviljonki service park
Pre-rally press conference: 13:00, Thursday 27 July, Media Centre, Paviljonki
WRC drivers meet the kids: 13:30-15:00, Thursday 27 July, Paviljonki
Rally start: 18:42, Thursday 27 July, Paviljonki
Rally finish and podium ceremony: 15:00, Sunday 30 July, Paviljonki
Post-event press conference: 15:45, Sunday 30 July, Media Centre, Paviljonki

Television and radio:
The host broadcaster of Neste Rally Finland is Nelonen, which will provide several daily updates of the rally to the nationwide free-to-air channel Nelonen, plus its Ruutu+ digital service, starting from the Sunday the week before the event. The rally will also be covered on a daily basis on national sports news on several other TV channels. YLE Jyväskyläis the official radio service and is available at 99.3 MHz in Jyväskylä and 97.0 MHz in Northern Central Finland or at The service broadcasts and English and Finnish.















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