||August 10-11, 2002
||Lauri Ouvinen, Matti Ouvinen and Ville Tikkaoja
It was again time of the Rally Finland in the World Rally Championship season. The event
formerly known as the Rally of 1000 Lakes and now known for few years as Neste Rally
Finland has established itself as a firm place in a WRC calendar. The fast and jumpy gravel
roads through Finnish forests and country side have always been favourits for the drivers
and rally fans.
Even before the start the event was thought to be a battle between the Peugeot drivers and
so it was. Marcus Grönholm, the points leader before the rally, was going for a
hat trick of wins having won the previous two years. After day one it was a Peugeot
1-2-3 with Grönholm leading from Richard Burns and Harri Rovanperä. On the second
day the work was made easier for Grönholm as Rovanperä retired and Burns had
problems which dropped him back in time, but he still kept the second place. The third
day went by the book and Grönholm cruised to his third straight victory. Burns finalised
the Peugeot one-two. Petter Solberg inherited the third place after Colin McRae's car
went up in flames on the final day.
For other Finnish WRC regulars the home rally didn't went well at all. Rovanperä was
fighting for the win, but lost the game with wheel damage. Five time Rally Finland winner
Tommi Mäkinen previously always drove at the front at this event, but this year it was
not so. Mäkinen has had problems and bad luck in recent rallies and the home event
was not any different except that he now got to the finish. The lack of pace was only
rewared with one point for a sixth place finnish. Juha Kankkunen went out in dramatic way
with his Hyundai on Saturday morning. For Toni Gardemeister it was business as usual as
the Skoda Octavia is not competitive enough.
We were on the stages on Saturday and Sunday and attended the stage 15 at Ouninpohja and
stages 18 and 21 at Jukojärvi. It was warm and sunny the whole time. So it was a
perfect weather to watch the event as well as for the photographs. The nice weather had
again brought lots of spectators to the event and it was most noticable from the traditional
traffic jams on the roads.
The photos on this gallery have been taken on variety of places on these stages and we hope
you will like them.
1. Marcus Grönholm, Peugeot, 3:17:52.5
2. Richard Burns, Peugeot, +1:27.3
3. Petter Solberg, Subaru, +2:49.6
4. Carlos Sainz, Ford, +2:53.8
5. Markko Märtin, Ford, +3:10.0
6. Tommi Mäkinen, Subaru, +4:34.1
7. Sebastian Lindholm, Peugeot, +5:36.4
8. Jani Paasonen, Mitsubishi, +5:55.3
9. Freddy Loix, Hyundai, +6:07.8
10. Sebastien Loeb, +6:13.6