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Undoubtedly the most exotic FIA World Rally Championship is hosted by Rovaniemi – Lapland Rovaniemi community coming together to build the race

The family of Puhakka-Keskiniva from Rovaniemi the Arctic Capital of Lapland is a great example of citizens pulling it together and enjoying these arctic experiences to the fullest. Arctic rally has always been in the hearts of Rovaniemi families, experienced together as exciting adventures, when in the early hours of frosty winter mornings, the families gear up and head to work for the sake of rally.

For reasons like this the Arctic Rally Finland is the most exotic race of the year. The event carries years and years of family traditions and stories told from generation to another – attracting a staggering 600 volunteers with the rally spirit and mere joy of working together as one. Says so much for their team spirit that the only compensation is mileage, lunch and a sack of firewood to build fires for warming up during special stages – true love for the sport.

The FIA World Rally Championship weekend is strictly scheduled for the Puhakka-Keskiniva family: Head of the family father Jussi is taking part in the race as a WRC3 driver and the mother of the family Tarja controls hundreds of volunteers between the stages. Their daughter is the local contact person for the contestants and also assists the AKK Motorsport in Covid-19 safety procedures. Their son has gathered a team of his own ice hockey team to assist him on three different stages. This sure is a family committed to rally.

“To be able to host the Arctic Rally Finland in our hometown is so amazing, that we are proud to contribute” the family rejoices. 

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ŠKODA Fabia perfect car for Arctic Rally Finland, says Lindholm

Emil Lindholm has highlighted why his ŠKODA Fabia Rally2 Evo is the perfect car to challenge for glory on Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox this week.

As well as powering more than 20 crews on round two of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship, ŠKODA is the Official Car of Arctic Rally Finland through a partnership between event organiser AKK Sports Oy and Helkama-Auto Oy, ŠKODA’s Finnish importer.

Lindholm, a 24-year-old rising star of Finnish rallying and last season’s national championship runner-up, is a contender for WRC3 category honours on the Rovaniemi event. He also has considerable experience of the local terrain to call upon having contested the Arctic Lapland Rally on six previous occasions.

“For this rally, in particular, what makes the car good is that it’s stable at high speed,” Helsinki-based Lindholm said. “This rally is going to be a mix of super-high speed but also some twisty sections. You can rely on this car in the high-speed stuff because it’s so accurate, it’s a good package for this rally. And it’s warm inside!”

With ambient temperatures expected to hover around minus 10 degrees centigrade, Lindholm said he and co-driver Mikael Korhonen are well prepared for what’s in store.

“There’s usually a ripple or a wave on the surface but you don’t really feel it inside the car, which is a sign of the suspension working super-well, which it does,” said Lindholm. “It’s also fair to say the Škoda is the most reliable car of its class, I’ve never had any technical issues with it, even in the cold conditions or on hot rallies in Italy, the car is so reliable. It’s impressive and it’s important to have a car we can really rely on. Obviously we’re hoping for a good result and I’m really happy we’re in the Škoda.”

Asked what his rivals competing in Lapland for the first time can expect, Lindholm said: “They’ll be freezing! The last forecast I saw was not too harsh, around 10 degrees minus which is habitable. But it’s also interesting how the temperature affects the grip and surface of the road. If it’s colder, the surface of the road is harder and the grip is lower so this is an aspect to keep in mind.”

As the Official Car of Arctic Rally Finland, ŠKODA’s Finnish importer, Helkama-Auto Oy, will supply the SUPERB, KODIAQ, KAROQ, OCTAVIA and SCALA models for use by event officials to carry out their various duties for the duration of Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox.

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HOW TO FOLLOW ARCTIC RALLY FINLAND

*Extensive live coverage and daily highlights on Finnish television

*All stages shown live on WRC+, available at WRC.com

*Ralliradio broadcasting live from all stage stop lines

With the start of the first Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox just days away, this is a guide to how fans can follow all the action from the warmth and safety of their homes.

Due to restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic it is not possible to allow spectator access to the event. Therefore, fans are being urged not to attempt to access any of the special stages or service park as they will be turned away.

Event organiser AKK Sports Oy is therefore pleased to announce the following options for fans to support their heroes virtually:

National television

TV1, TV2 and Yle Areena will broadcast extensive live coverage of Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox, while TV2 will show a daily highlights programme.

WRC+ All Live

The official video platform of the FIA World Rally Championship, WRC+ All Live will show every stage of Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox as it happens and on demand. Click HERE for the live stream schedule.

Ralliradio

Broadcast in Finnish with regular summaries in English, Ralliradio reporters will be stationed at the end of each stage of Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox to bring instant reaction from the drivers. Ralliradio is available throughout the world at yle.fi/ralliradio with a streaming service available at yle.fi/mmralli. The service is also available in the Rovaniemi area via the radio frequency 96,7 MHz and on the Yle Radi Suomi Rovaniemi channel.

Day-by-day coverage on radio and TV in Finland (all times local and subject to change):

Thursday February 25

21:20-21:30: Preview show, TV2

Friday February 26

15:00-16:08: SS 1 Sarriojärvi 1 (31,05 km), TV2

18:30-19:38: SS 2 Sarriojärvi 2 (31,05 km), Yle Areena

20:50-21:20: Friday highlights, TV2

08:32-09:30 and 15:00-20:15: Ralliradio, Yle Areena

Saturday February 27

10:30-11:38: SS 4 Kaihuavaara 1 (19,91 km), TV2 (Start SS) & Yle Areena (Full SS)

17:00-18:08: SS 7 Kaihuavaara 2 (19,91 km), TV2 (Start SS) & Yle Areena (Full SS)

19:45-20:45: Saturday highlights, TV2

08:05-20:30: Ralliradio, Yle Areena 

Sunday February 28

10:00-11:08: SS 9 Aittajärvi 1 (22,47 km), TV2

13:00-14:30: SS 10 Aittajärvi 2, Power Stage (22,47 km), TV1

17:10-17:40: Rally Highlights, TV2

09:10-14:30: Ralliradio, Yle Areena 

Social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rallyfinland

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rallyfinland/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RallyFinland

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzAAk7FOZZK8aXo53flddAg

Other useful links:

Event website: https://arcticrallyfinland.fi/en/home/

FIA.com

WRC.com

Rovaniemi: https://www.visitrovaniemi.fi

ENDS

More information and media activities:

Linda Hirvonen, National Press Officer, +358 (0) 45 3299696, linda.hirvonen@autourheilu.fi

www.arcticrallyfinland.fi

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Christmas comes early for Arctic Rally Finland star drivers

Several top drivers from the FIA World Rally Championship were given the ultimate Lapland experience earlier today – and even got to meet the region’s most famous resident, Santa Claus.

Joulupukki as he’s better known around Rovaniemi, where Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox takes place from February 26-28, took time out of his busy schedule (December 24 is only 304 days away after all) to welcome selected drivers to Santa Claus Village.

As well as meeting the big man with the white beard and thanking him for all the presents he’s given them over the years, the drivers enjoyed the opportunity warm up having spent the morning experiencing some of Lapland’s most sought-after pursuits in typical Arctic conditions. 

These included dog sledging (when the huskies have more fun than their passengers), negotiating a reindeer racing course and ice karting.

All activities were arranged in accordance with strict COVID-19 protocols with drivers kept in bubbles at all times. 

Drivers and co-drivers are now turning their attentions to the reconnaissance of the stages that make up round two of the FIA World Rally Championship. 

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Latvala: We can handle the Arctic Rally Finland pressure

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala is “confident” that his world
championship-leading squad can “handle” the pressure on this week’s Arctic Rally Finland
Powered by CapitalBox.

Finn Latvala, a winner of 18 WRC events, is in his second month at the head of the Toyota
team, which was founded in Finland by the country’s legendary four-time World Rally
champion Tommi Mäkinen prior to the 2017 season.

Latvala’s tenure began with a one-two result on the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo last
month, which has handed Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT a 22-point lead over Hyundai Shell
Mobis World Rally Team in the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers.

Speaking ahead of the Rovaniemi-based Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox,
Latvala said: “Our result on Rallye Monte-Carlo was a very special start to the season and I
was really happy to see how well the team was working together. Now, we’re looking to
the first ever Arctic Rally Finland.”

Latvala has limited experience of competing in Lapland, his one and only Arctic Lapland
Rally appearance coming in 2006 when he crashed out of third place in the closing stages
aboard a Toyota Corolla WRC.

“What’s typical in Lapland are very long, fast corners where you can lose a lot of time if
you’re not feeling confident, so the stability of the car is very important,” Latvala said. “For
us, there will probably be a bit more pressure than usual because it’s a home event and our
car has been developed on Finnish roads with these kind of conditions. But I’m confident
that we can handle it.”

Latvala also took time out of his team’s Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox
preparations to praise the work of the various organisations whose efforts have ensured the
second round of 2021 WRC is going ahead from February 26-28.

“Over the years there has been a lot of talk about how great the event could be as a WRC
round with the guaranteed snow,” said Latvala, whose first WRC victory was on the snow-
based Rally Sweden in 2008. “This year the opportunity has suddenly come up and
everyone involved has done a great job to make it happen in a very short space of time. I’m
sure it will look fantastic on television with the pure white snow and the sun shining.” 

Latvala will oversee a four-strong Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT line-up on Arctic Rally Finland
Powered by CapitalBox. The four Pirelli-equipped Toyota Yaris WRCs are being crewed by
world champions Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia, last year’s runners-up Elfyn Evans/Scott
Martin, young Finnish talents Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen, plus Takamoto
Katsuta/Daniel Barritt.