"The first Finnish sportsman to be dubbed ‘The Flying Finn’ actually used foot power rather than horsepower. It was a fellow called Hannes Kolehmainen, also known as ‘Smiling Hannes’ who won three gold medals at the 1912 Olympics in neighbouring Stockholm. "
The Return of The Flying Finn
It’s exactly 30 years since Ari Vatanen won the UK stage of the World Rally Championship in the crazy days of Group B racing.
This November Ari will be back in the UK for the Wales Rally GB (13th-16th November) but alas not behind the wheel of a Peugeot 205 T16, or indeed in his beloved Escort RS1800.
He’ll be in attendance to pick up a new annual honour -starting this year- that of ‘Rally Legend’, and we couldn’t think of a better candidate.
His spectacular and fearless driving style won him a large and lasting fan base in Britain and bagged him the 1976 Championship.
On the flip side it nearly cost him his life the following season in a crash which was also the start of the end for Group B rallying.
Watch this space for a more in depth investigation into the startling success of Finnish drivers. In a couple of months we’ll be looking to solve the riddle when we ask…
‘What is that Finnish thing?’
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