Finland, often referred to as the land of a thousand lakes, offers breathtaking scenery, serene nature and an adrenaline-filled event that every rally enthusiast looks forward to: Rally Finland. Also known as the Rally of the Thousand Lakes, it is one of the fastest events on the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar.
In this article, we’ll explain what to expect from the rally, how to plan your trip if you want to experience it live and some tips on how to make the most of your Rally Finland experience.
History and significance of the event
Rally Finland began in 1951 and was originally known as the Jyväskylä Grand Prix. Over the decades, it has grown in popularity thanks to its high-speed stages, iconic jumps and the unparalleled skill required to navigate its gravel roads.
Finnish drivers, in particular, have historically excelled on this terrain, giving rise to the nickname ‘Finland’s Grand Prix’.
Route faced by the drivers
The rally is famous for its smooth, lightning-fast gravel roads, lined with forests and dotted with spectacular jumps. The roads around the central Finnish town of Jyväskylä are the scene of most of the rally’s competitive stages.
The Ouninpohja stage, famous for its high-speed jumps, is one of the highlights and often a decisive factor in the outcome of the rally. The event is usually held in summer, which offers long daylight hours that contribute to the unique rally experience.
Plan your Rally Finland adventure
Check the WRC calendar for the exact dates of Rally Finland, which usually takes place between late July and early August.
Finnish summers can be quite pleasant, with long hours of daylight, meaning you can make the most of the rally stages and the stunning Finnish scenery.
Where to stay for the Thousand Lakes Rally?
Jyväskylä is the hub of the event, so finding accommodation there can be very convenient. However, as this is a very popular event, it is advisable to book your stay well in advance. There are plenty of options, from hotels to cabins and even campsites, if you are looking for an authentic Finnish experience.
Tickets and access to the event
You will need to purchase passes to gain access to the rally stages. There are various packages available, including single stage tickets and passes for the entire event.
Keep an eye on the official Rally Finland website to get your tickets as soon as they go on sale and remember that the best viewing spots are usually at the start of the stages or near the spectacular jumps, so getting to your chosen location early is key.
How to get to the rally?
Having your own vehicle is a great advantage for participating in the rally. The stages are spread over a wide area and public transport is not always available to get to the more remote locations. Hiring a car will give you the flexibility to move between stages and explore Finland’s stunning scenery at your own pace.
Also, always follow the organisers’ instructions and stay within designated spectator areas for your safety. Rally cars pass by at high speed and being in the wrong place can be very dangerous.
What is the weather like at Rally Finland?
Be prepared for all weather conditions. Even in summer, temperatures can fluctuate, and rain is not uncommon. Dress in layers and wear waterproof clothing.
Other essentials include sunscreen, insect repellent, comfortable walking shoes and a camera to capture the high-flying action. A portable charger may also be useful, as you’ll be spending most of the day outdoors.
Beyond the rally: experience Finnish culture
Rally Finland is not just about racing, it’s also a celebration of Finnish culture. Take part in local traditions, sample typical Finnish cuisine (such as Karelian pasties) and, if you dare, take part in a traditional Finnish sauna.
While you’re here for the rally, spend some more time exploring Finland’s natural beauty. The Thousand Lakes Region is packed with outdoor activities, from hiking and fishing to canoeing and berry picking.
If you’re visiting Finland for the first time, consider spending a day or two in the capital, Helsinki. It’s a vibrant city with beautiful architecture, exciting history and a lively food scene.
Rally Finland is more than just an event – it’s a cultural immersion and a nature lover’s dream. Its combination of high-speed motoring excitement and the serenity of the Finnish landscape creates an unforgettable experience.
By following this guide, you will be better prepared to plan your trip to the Thousand Lakes Rally and make the most of this exciting and unique Finnish adventure. Get ready to experience the fast-paced WRC action while soaking up the peaceful beauty and warm hospitality of Finland.