maanantai 23. marraskuuta 2015

Pirelli rally on the 25th-26th of September 2015

End of the season. For the last Finnish Championship rally in Tampere I switched the codriver’s seat to Antti Selivaara’s GT Corolla. I was really looking forward to the event since the rally had over 150 special stage kilometers and I had never codriven in a GT Corolla. Antti’s cars have a reputation of being some of the most beautiful in Finland so I was really eager to see what the car was like.
Waiting for the start at the horse race track

Eye candy in the form of a toyota engine

On Friday we had only two stages. One spectator stage on Tampere horse race track and one “real” stage in the dark. The real stage was one of the most challenging stages in the Finnish championship. 20km long Pengonpohja. And it was driven in the dark. The feeling in the start of the stage was surreal since when we got close to the start line we could see that fog was landing on the stage. When we started we could see only some 20 meters in front of us. It was going to be a long stage… Luckily the fog disappeared after a couple of kilometers and we could relax a bit. We finished the stage without problems.

The second day didn’t start too well. A long wait in the beginning of the first stage because a Japanese crew had crashed and had to be checked up by an ambulance crew. Luckily the Japanese crew was OK.
A long queue of cars.

After that no hick ups. We drove through the stages with a steady pace. After the first service in the end of a long road section we encountered problems though. The brake pedal went to the floor. A brake caliber was leaking. We decided not to risk it even though there still was some pressure on the pedal. This retirement was the end of my season. I wasn’t too sad though. I had liked the roads, the driver and the car. Also we had driven almost as much as in a normal Finnish Championship rally so it didn’t feel as though we had just started and retired.

So what's in store for next season? Hopefully a busy season. The idea is to drive with Antton in the Finnish junior championship and in the FRC. Most likely we'll skip the Arctic Rally because otherwise our calendar in January-March will be really tight, but  the idea is to replace the Arctic with another rally in the summer time.

Uusikaupunkiralli 12th of September 2015

Uusikaupunkiralli –rally 12th of September. In the end of August I was supposed to codrive for Jari in the Finnish rally championship in Turku and Antton was supposed to drive there also. To make a long story short neither one of us saw the start line in Turku. Uusikaupunki is near Turku so we thought that let’s go drive there to keep up us both in the rhythm.  Antton’s dad Reijo was also driving there with his R4 evo 9. The rally was a nice event. Warm autumn weather and no stress about the result. The only problem during the whole rally was that for some reason the front suspension felt like solid wood. No worries though and we ended up second in our class again.
R2 and R4

Vuokatti rally 8th of August 2015

A couple of months and the Peugeot was in a rally again. This time we were rallying in the middle of Finland in Vuokatti, Sotkamo. Finland is so long from South to North that even though I drove 577km from my home in Helsinki to Vuokatti I should have driven about 100km more to in the halfway into the most Northern part of Finland. Anyway in my eyes we were North enough. Vuokatti was me and Antton’s third rally together and we were determined to see the finish line this time. I personally had three retirements in a row so seeing the finish line would be a luxury.

Scrutineering in Vuokatti. Peugeot looking like a car again :)

The rally ended up being a short one once again. No we didn’t retire luckily. The rally was supposed to be only 43km long anyway, but the two stages which were to be driven twice got into so bad condition that the organizer canceled the second one. In the end we drove something like 33 stage kilometers and finished second in our class. Nice to finish on the podium, but I felt somehow frustrated to drive 1300km just to codrive three stages.

SM -Itäralli on the 13th of June 2015

One week after the big crash with Antton it was time to head to Joensuu with Jari and BMW M3. It’s always nice to go back to Joensuu where I grew up. You know the city and the stages are really nice. No luck and luck in Joensuu. We had to retire on the second stage since rear suspension mounting broke off from the chassis and the codriver’s side rear wheel was pointing outside in 45 degree angle. The part where we got lucky was that Jari managed to keep the car on the road with good reflexes and the problem wasn’t big to fix. I was feeling a bit sore here and there after the previous week’s crash so I was really happy that I didn’t have to test how it feels to crash again. Sad that we had to retire especially so early. I always love to rally on the roads in the Eastern part of Finland.

BMW with four wheel steering

Nilfisk rally 6th of June 2015

Rally season continued in June. Nilfisk rally on the 6th of June was our first junior championship rally together with Antton. The plan was to start aggressively and not to lift in every corner. Of course there is some risk involved when you do this without pace notes. 3 kilometers into the first stage and we rolled spectacularly. We were bouncing against the limiter around 155km/h towards an easy left hander. We dropped the speed maybe 20km/h or something. When we got into the beginning of the corner we could see past the bushes in the inside of a corner. The corner tightened. Not much we could do except throw the car sideways. All the credit to Antton that he managed to react and act. With 2okm/h less speed we might have had a chance to make it.

You always wonder how much your brain has time to process in a situation like this. I thought before we started rolling that we are lucky since there is just a field on the outside corner. During the rolling I thought that it must be already our fourth roll, but then just thought I must be imagining it and maybe it’s the third. We ended up rolling the car 5,5 times and it actually rolled back onto the road.

After all the cars had passed we pushed the car onto the trailer. Pushed? Yes. The car rolled quite softly. Of course all the panels were dented and all the glasses broken, but other than that the Peugeot was in quite god condition. Only one rear damper and one tyre was broken. The scrutineering chief made an accident report of the car and thoroughly checked the car and our safety equipment. Everything was in OK condition. All the credit to Peugeot engineers and safety equipment manufacturers.

A sad looking Peugeot

Me and Antton went to see the rally doctor to get a checkup. We were feeling quite OK, but just in case something turned up a couple days later we wanted to make sure we wouldn’t have a fight with the insurance company people. I ended up with small bruises all over the body and a read eye, but no sore neck or anything like that. It helped a lot that the car just rolled and didn’t suddenly stop to a tree or something.

keskiviikko 20. toukokuuta 2015

Kaloppi –ralli 16th of May 2015

Something different. Codriving for Antton Laurén in his Peugeot 208 R2 in a rally which is driven without pace notes. Using just the road book in which the organizer has marked the surprising corners or dangerous places. Otherwise just scanning the road and trying to guess where the road turns and how hard.

There are only three rallies left in the Finnish rally championship. And since Jari wans’t planning on driving any other rallies as practice I have time to kill. Antton was looking for a codriver for the Finnish junior rally championship + some practice rallies. The two series don’t have conflicting schedules so I decided to jump in.

Scrutineering before the start

The rally went well. It’s a really nice car and Antton drives fluently so as a codriver I had really nice time. Of course it felt strange not to have pace notes. Last time I did one of these “blind” rallies was about 2,5 years ago so I wasn’t really in my comfort zone. Well you get used to it.

Road section. All of  them were quite short.

The stages were really nice with one exception. Fourth stage was on a small road and we were driving on number 145. There were deep ruts and in a couple of places Antton had to lift the car from the ruts so that we wouldn’t lose our front bumper. Unfotunately we suffered a puncture 3km before the end of the stage and had to limb to the finish. We lost about 1,5min and the battle for class victory ended there. Since there was only one stage left to go and we had driven enough training kilometers we decided to call it a day. We changed the wheel and drove back to rally headquarters. All in all it was a good day. Since Kaloppi wasn’t a junior championship rally the only aim was to get training kilometers. In that we succeeded and Antton was happy with the car setup.

Can't sell this tyre or use it in testing

Next rally is on the 6th of June in Oripää with Antton&Peugeot without pace notes and one week after that I’m driving with Jari&BMW with pace notes.

maanantai 13. huhtikuuta 2015

FRC Seinäjoki 2015

If the conditions weren't good for a winter rally last year in Joensuu then this year in Seinäjoki they really in favour. First two stages on Friday evening were driven on pure gravel. We even used summer tyres for a 60km road section for Saturday's stages. Those were in better condition for a winter rally. Still the last stage had to be cancelled because the stage was in such a bad condition. We started the rally with too calm of a pace. Managed to finish second in class. We are now in second position in the Suomi Cup points. Points wise our retirement in the Arctic was bad, but the points leader Aaltonen retired at Seinäjoki so that helped us to close the gap a little bit. With this pace it will take until the last rally of the season to see who wins Suomi Cup. Now looking forward to the first summer rally in Joensuu on the 13th of June. We should have a brand new rally car there the BMW 125i.

Snow rally?

Road section on summer tyres. At least the rims look really nice.