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GP Week : Issue 163
RALLY >>> FEATURE “We have known each other for many years, and I had tested TMR cars in the last year. Anyway, Tommi offered me the chance to do some IRC rallies.” Rallying is something of a family affair for Jarkko. His brother Petri (five years older) is his regular co-driver, while Jarkko Kalliopelo usually competes in the rallies abroad. The dream of Jarkko and Petri is to succeed at the top level of the sport together. So August is here again, the high point of the season for the brave young rallymen of Finland, and nothing will stop the really ambitious drivers from being on the start line. It has always been thus for Jarkko – 2007 in the Honda, 2008 in a Fiesta ST, 2009, 2011 and now 2012 in the old Evo IX which he keeps at home to use when there is nothing else! “I do not feel that competing in Jyvaskyla is the ‘make or break’ for a rally career, but certainly it is the only occasion we have to have the chance to impress the rally world who we are. We have no choice, we have to be there.” Jarkko and others in his age group aren’t the first and certainly aren’t the last wave of drivers coming over from the north- east corner of Europe, but like all who have come before and like those who follow them, they are following their ambitions. Jarkko’s Classmates Two other Finnish drivers feature strongly in the sport at this time, both slightly older than Jarkko. 27 year-old Mikko Pajunen (left) started with Opel, moved on to Suzuki in which he contested the British championship in 2010 and then drove for Autosport Technologies in a Renault Twingo R2 in 2011. For 2012 he has a dual programme. Renault, through Meteco Corse has provided the chance to compete in Italian championship rallies in a Twingo R2 and Tommi Makinen Racing back in Finland have provided him with a Subaru Impreza R4, which he will drive on NORF this year. On the 2011 NORF, he drove the highest placed two-wheel-drive car, a Renault Clio R3. The connection with TMR also brought him the chance to be co-driven by Kai Lindstrom, Tommi’s Monte Carlo winning co-driver in 2002 and recently for Kimi Raikkonen. After 28 year-old Jukka Korhonen’s (right) career started with a Honda Type R, this has almost entirely been based on R2 class cars, starting with Fiesta R2 in the Finnish championship and with one venture in 2011 to Britain to compete on the Pirelli Rally. This brought him quite unexpected good fortune. On that event his performances gained him the special event’s ‘Star Driver’ award, and this brought him an invitation at the end of the season for a shoot-out for the ultimate British prize, an all-expense paid season in the 2012 series in a Skoda Fabia R2. He won the shoot-out and got the drive! His only four-wheel-drive experience has been renting an Evo IX for winter championship rallies earlier this year. 39 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: