The secret of their success
The first technique is rarely burdensome even for the pocket of a senior student – a car capable of some kind of competition (such as a sprint or rally cross) can be purchased for a few hundred euros.
Once a couple of years ago I had to talk to people who knew the world rally from the inside. And since then, I remember one phrase that seemed unexpected: “Now, young pilots from different countries have new chances. The world is tired of Finnish champions, “the market” requires something new! ”
The meaning becomes clear when you turn to statistics. Over the thirty-year history of the WRC, 12 Finnish pilots have become world champions. On the account of immigrants from the country of Suomi more than 120 victories at the stages of the championship, that is, according to current standards (14 stages per year) – almost 9 years “golden pages” of rally history were “filled” in Finnish …
The inhabitants of our northern neighbor are no less strong in other racing disciplines, but in rally Finnish domination is particularly noticeable. Vatanen, Mikola, Ayrikkala, Alain, Salonen, Toivonen, Havalainen, Kankkunen, Mäkinen, Gronholm … These are just the stars of the largest size, which left the most significant traces in the history of world motor sport. Those to whom the respectful “flying Finns” refers primarily. Where do these talents come from? Of course, the northern climate and excellent (in the “rally” sense, this is not about smooth and direct highways) roads are a good help for the development of driving skills. But it is impossible to explain the situation only by this, besides just in Suomi you don’t “chase”. The rules of the road here are one of the toughest, and fines can reach transcendental numbers.
If you get acquainted with the biographies of the Finnish pilots in more detail, then an interesting detail will become clear. Many of them are either … farmers, or come from farming families. World champion Markus Gronholm considered rallying a minor business until very recently, and Tommy Mäkinen about his beloved new tractor Valtra speaks almost with more warmth and interest than about the formidable Subaru Impreza WRC, which he pilots in the championship. The mischievous analogies between race, agriculture and the notorious “national temperament” need not be sought out. Everything is easier. Farms are private lands, stretches of private roads and a tractor that is necessarily present on the farm. For many boys, by the way, it is he who becomes the first vehicle in life and a textbook on the design of the engine, suspension and transmission. And on it you can clear from the snow section of the track in the forest. And no police will ask what you do there. The land is private, and the “highway” is not one of the public roads. Here, perhaps, the first pebble in the foundation of the Finnish pilot’s talent – the boys get used to the steering wheel and technique from childhood, and there is enough for getting the first skills and homemade “ice ring”. Those who are older can already try to face off with their friends officially – small local competitions allow the possibility of starting minors, if they do not mean going out on common roads. The first technique is rarely burdensome even for the pocket of a senior student – a car capable of some kind of competition (such as a sprint or rally cross) can be purchased for a few hundred euros. Moreover, there are even special categories of competitions where the “race of budgets” is stopped with one touch: according to their regulations, the car of each of the participants can be sold to anyone who wishes after the finish for some specific money – for example, 700 or 1000 euros. The meaning of “winding up” something expensive is simply lost. Of course, all such cars before the sparkling multi-colored boards of rally beauties like before the moon, but “do you want to go or go?” They – go.
So, the young pilot grows up to the age when you can get right. The first experience is already available, and now is the time to try yourself in the “big races”. There is such an opportunity, and for this it is not necessary to immediately rush to a major rally level national championship. There are several more series, much more affordable – the championship of the “serial” cars of the N group (fortified bodies, a little forced engine, good suspension – that’s all their main differences) and the F-Cup series are very interesting competitions taking place all over the country and collecting at the start up to two hundred cars. The peculiarity of the “F Cup” is that the races are very transient (40-70 kilometers of special stages) and take place in one day. These races are “blind”, that is, before the start the crew is given a detailed road book – and off you go. This principle, firstly, opens the way to a rally for hundreds of people who would hardly be able to break away from work for two or three days of familiarization. And secondly, it is at such competitions that the ability to intuitively feel the road is born, one of the most important foundations of the Finnish pilot skills. Literally through the gaps in the trees, in the wake of the braking of previous crews, according to where the spectators are located (these will always be gathered in the most insidious places).