Random Snap>> The End Of Ouninpohja

The World Rally Championship is a shadow of its former self, not helped by constant changes to rules, regulations, calendar changes and classic events.

Sadly, this weekends 'Rally of 1000 Lakes (I refuse to call it by its new name, Rally Finland!) has lost one of Rallying's most distinctive stages. The Ouninpohja stages are legendary as rally drivers launch themselves over the high speed jumps since the Fifties! 

Here is a great example from Ikka Rythönen, of Mikko Hirvonen in his Ford Focus WRC this time last year. 

In an effort to reduce speed, the stage has been cut in half and will now run in the opposite direction.  'Air' will be greatly reduced. A number of drivers are unhappy about this. Suzuki's Per Gunnar Andersson told Autosport " Some of these roads are not classic Finland,  You come here for big jumps and wide roads, we don't have so much of either now". Such a shame, and another kick in the teeth for World Rallying.

The Rally takes place this weekend, Sebastien Loeb, still chasing his first ever Rally Finland 1000 Lakes Win. Only three non-Scandinavians have won the demanding event.

- Andy Blackmore

Ikka Rytkönen's Rally Gallery Great gallery, with shots dating back to 2001.

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11 comments

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1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkyM_-T2mY4&feature=related - there's part 1 of Solberg's record breaking trip through Ouninpohja. Part 2 is in the related.



I could sit and watch those videos all day.

2

Did not know they were cutting out the stage entirely. Thought that they had previously run it in 2 parts and would continue to do so. Of course, any form of TV coverage would help me keep on top of things like that. Either way, I have the hi-res version of that film. It is truly one of the greatest drives in any form of racing ever. There's a part where Petter actually tells Phil to read the notes faster.

3

not entirely. They have run it in two halfs recently, but now they have cut the overall stage in half, changed direction as stated in the story to remove the high speed and the 'air' the drivers manage. I expect there will still be small jumps, but its a massive shame.



Its like Getting rid of the Cork Screw at Laguna Seca. Rascafe at Monaco, or Mulsanne at Le Mans (arrh, ACO have already done a good job at that).



Notice Loeb is already doing well, so maybe this is the year for him?

4

Damn those hydraulics! Insane! I kid! hahaha.

5

I have a deep respect for all things rally (As it is quite possibly the most demanding form of motorsport, both on driver/navigator, as well as car), but I can't help thinking about Garfield the cat when looking at this picture... More specifically him mailing Nermil to "Abu Dhabi".



On a more serious note, Rally coverage in North America consists of the ocassional Mitsubishi commercial (Anyone else notice that they're using a rally spec EVO IX to sell the EVO X and new base model Lancer???).

6

Oh yeah, I would love to see Mitsubishi back in WRC with the new Evo X. Seems like the WRC is dominated by Sebastien Loeb and Citroen. Spank those Euro's asses, Subaru and Mitsubishi!

7

It's always difficult to know how to feel when these retrogressive changes are made in any area of motorsport. Sadness that these halcyon days are leaving, but we can also be glad that we were able to enjoy them while they lasted. Im sure most fans (of appropriate age) look back fondly at chicanless Le Mans, or Group C races around the Nordschleife, Group B, which makes growing older a little less harsh - at least we were able to enjoy them at the time...

8

Ya, I probably should have read the entire article first.

9

It ain't what it used to be but it is still the fastest rally of the year... just. I think Rally GB is close when it is dry :)

I hope WRC can regain some of its popularity, it is falling back a little nowdays.

10

I've been at the Neste Rally Finlands SS-Ouninpohja. The best rally stage ever!

The longest jump is recorded back in 2003. Markko Märtin (Estonia) jumped his WRC Ford Focus 57 meters (187 feet). Running 171 km/h (106 mp/h) on to the jump! SICK!!! This spot is at the famous "Keltainen talo" (Yellow house). Markko Märtin & his co-driver Michael Park (RIP) won that SS & Rally that year as well.



Here's a youtube clip of that jump: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WscJIRsqpw4



Ilkka's pic of the record jump: http://www.ilkansivu.net/Neste_Rally_Finland_2003/109_0938_EK_14_Ouninpohja_2_Markko_Martin_ja_Michael_Park_Ford_Focus_RS_WRC_03.jpg



Cheers, Domo-kun

11

Regular Speedhunters will remember, we touched on the Rally Finland round of the World Rally Championship

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