sunnuntai 8. syyskuuta 2013
Neste Rally Finland, The Finnish Grand Prix. So what does Vetomieshave to do with it? During some of the years there has been an extra class after the Neste Rally cars. In that class the competitors drive with Finnish 2wd group F cars which have outdated homologation.For example BMW M3, Toyota Corolla GT, Opel Astra, Ford Escortetc etc. This year we participated to the class with my brother Mikkoin his BMW M3. Jari also took part with his brother in their M3. In the middle of Finnish rally championship this was an opportunity to just enjoy the rallying how it’ meant to be done. Sideways :) TheVetomies –rally was done on Saturday and we drove stages Surkee,Leustu, Ouninpohja and Painaa after the big boys had done the stages for the first time. It was really great to be part of the WRC round atmosphere. Since we haven’t done that many rallies with my brother anymore I was really looking forward to doing one rally with him. Just like back in the day. A BMW, Mikko driving and me co-driving.
The recce was one weekend on a Saturday. Actually a couple of days earlier than even the WRC guys get to do the recce. Maybe the organizers didn’t want them to be in our way during the recce :D We managed to make good pace notes even though Mikko hasn’t done notes in a long time and usually doesn’t do pace note rallies.
Next Friday it was time to get back to Jyväskylä. To kill the time me, Mikko and a couple of our friends went to see Lankamaa stage. After the stage me and Mikko headed towards Kangasniemi to spend thenight. Next morning it was all rally glamour. Wake up at 5am and on the road around 5h45.
Around 7am we were ready at Paviljonki for paper check and scrutineering. The whole atmosphere was really relaxed since probably 90% of the crews were there just to enjoy themselves.
The Vetomies rally usually has a really high retiring rate and that was wise to keep in mind. Around 11am it was our time to head towards the stages. The Surkee stage was familiar to me from last year. The stage was luckily in quite good shape after the WRC guys. We took it steadily trying not to damage the car. Mikko was also learning how to concentrate on listening to the pace notes. Our tactic was to avoid any damage to the car so that we could enjoy the famousOuninpohja stage. After Surkee we continued through Leustu with the same strategy. One of the Leustu junctions was so soft that we almost got stuck with the heavy rwd BMW.
After Leustu there was a short service break on a road section. We checked the car and didn’t even change the tyres. No fluids or anything needed either. Everything was OK and we just ate and drank a little bit to keep energy levels up. We hadn't even expected any problems. Mikko's trusted mechanic Teuvo was enjoying the rally as a spectator and our dad was the only mechanic we had with us. Even a couple of spectators came to the car laughing and commenting that there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the car since everybody is just talking bs and eating. The Ouninpohja stage started very well. Mikko had better gotten used listening the pace notes and since the stage was in great condition he could push the car without having to worry about it getting broken.
When reaching the famous Kakaristo junction after over 20km we were inside the top ten according to the gps tracker that was installed inside all the cars. About 700m everything went wrong. The organizers had built a jump for Tommi Mäkinen’s VIP people and we landed heavily nose first. Several cars broke in that artificial jump and we were no exception. The landing had damaged our oil cooler which had ripped of the radiator from its mountings. About 3km after the jump on the so called Ouninpohja small road our engine seized. End of our rally.
Unfortunately we also had to wait for several hours for the WRC guys to drive the stage for the second time. The organizers driving through the stage were really cool and stopped at our spot to ask if we were alright and if we needed anything. Even though we had drinking water the supplied us a couple of liters more. A big thank you for that for those guys. Very friendly. Our car wasn’t blocking the road, but it was on the outside corner where the WRC cars would throw a lot of stones. We tried to clean all the bigger stones after a car had passed, but unfortunately Kris Meeke dropped the driver’s side window with one stone. Kris himself wasn’t too lucky either crashing his car about 3km later. A shame since we was driving a great rally with a factory Citroën. Even though we didn’t finish the rally and broke the BMW’s engine we were quite happy. The setup of the car is pretty much spot on and since the Ouninpohja had gone so well the broken engine isn’t the end of the world.