A staggering 80 car crews for Rally Finland, Jari-Matti Latvala included!

Rally Finland has gathered an impressive line-up of competitors for the ninth round of the season, taking place at the beginning of August.
Jari-Matti Latvala and Juho Hänninen
Jari-Matti Latvala ja Juho Hänninen. Photo: McKlein
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A total of 80 car crews are participating, more than any time since 2015. There are ten Rally1 cars in the line-up, half of which are from the Toyota team, headquartered in Jyväskylä.

Toyota brings its full arsenal to Central Finland, including the two-time world champion Kalle Rovanperä, alongside Sébastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans, and Takamoto Katsuta. In addition to the regular drivers, Sami Pajari makes his debut behind the wheel of a Rally1 car in Finland.

Hyundai marches to Jyväskylä with its anticipated trio. In addition to the season-long drivers Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak, the Korean brand is represented by Esapekka Lappi in his home rally. M-Sport Ford’s Rally1 cars will be driven by Adrien Fourmaux and Grégoire Munster.

“It’s fantastic to have ten Rally1 cars, three of which are driven by Finnish drivers. An especially interesting one is the young Sami Pajari, making his Rally1 debut. In 2019, Sami participated as our Flying Finn Future Rally Star, although his race ended in the bushes with a Rally4 car. Since then, he has made significant progress in his career. It’s a real Cinderella story to rise from his first WRC rally to a Rally1 car in five years,” says the event director Kai Tarkiainen.

“It’s also great to see such commitment from Toyota, bringing five Rally1 cars to the competition. Additionally, it’s noteworthy that there are three world champions participating: Kalle Rovanperä, Sébastien Ogier, and Ott Tänak, all vying for victory alongside last year’s winner Elfyn Evans.”

A whopping 34 Rally2 cars will battle for their points in Rally Finland. Alongside the professional drivers tightly contesting the series, there is the surprise name of Jari-Matti Latvala, the Toyota team principal, who will now be behind the wheel of a factory Rally2 car, with Juho Hänninen as his co-driver. Latvala also participated in last year’s race, finishing fifth in the Rally1 class.

Latvala and Hänninen will face all the top WRC2 stars. The list includes Oliver Solberg, Teemu Suninen, Emil Lindholm, Gus Greensmith, and Pierre-Louis Loubet, as well as Finnish stars Lauri Joona, Roope Korhonen, Mikko Heikkilä, and Teemu Asunmaa. Young talent is also in the mix, with 17-year-old Tuukka Kauppinen participating in his first WRC rally in a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 car.

“Thirty-four competitors in the WRC2 class is a strong number. It will be fascinating for rally fans to see how Latvala fares against hungry young drivers, such as Oliver Solberg and many other top names in the class,” Tarkiainen summarises.

The Rally3 class also has a nice number of participants, with the Junior WRC series returning to Finland after a long hiatus. The series was last run in the Finnish round five years ago.

Overall, Secto Rally Finland will feature participants from 28 different nationalities, with a total of 80 crews.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome the JWRC back after a five-year break. Adding eight more drivers with similar cars, we have 25 Rally3 cars in the competition, so the battles in this class will be thrilling to watch,” Tarkiainen enthuses.

Check the full participant list through this link.

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