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Event info
Date : August 10-11, 2002
Present : Lauri Ouvinen, Matti Ouvinen and Ville Tikkaoja
Photos : 57

It was again time of the Rally Finland in the World Rally Championship season. The event formerly known as the Rally of 1000 Lakes and now known for few years as Neste Rally Finland has established itself as a firm place in a WRC calendar. The fast and jumpy gravel roads through Finnish forests and country side have always been favourits for the drivers and rally fans.

Even before the start the event was thought to be a battle between the Peugeot drivers and so it was. Marcus Grönholm, the points leader before the rally, was going for a hat trick of wins having won the previous two years. After day one it was a Peugeot 1-2-3 with Grönholm leading from Richard Burns and Harri Rovanperä. On the second day the work was made easier for Grönholm as Rovanperä retired and Burns had problems which dropped him back in time, but he still kept the second place. The third day went by the book and Grönholm cruised to his third straight victory. Burns finalised the Peugeot one-two. Petter Solberg inherited the third place after Colin McRae's car went up in flames on the final day.

For other Finnish WRC regulars the home rally didn't went well at all. Rovanperä was fighting for the win, but lost the game with wheel damage. Five time Rally Finland winner Tommi Mäkinen previously always drove at the front at this event, but this year it was not so. Mäkinen has had problems and bad luck in recent rallies and the home event was not any different except that he now got to the finish. The lack of pace was only rewared with one point for a sixth place finnish. Juha Kankkunen went out in dramatic way with his Hyundai on Saturday morning. For Toni Gardemeister it was business as usual as the Skoda Octavia is not competitive enough.

We were on the stages on Saturday and Sunday and attended the stage 15 at Ouninpohja and stages 18 and 21 at Jukojärvi. It was warm and sunny the whole time. So it was a perfect weather to watch the event as well as for the photographs. The nice weather had again brought lots of spectators to the event and it was most noticable from the traditional traffic jams on the roads.

The photos on this gallery have been taken on variety of places on these stages and we hope you will like them.

Results:

1. Marcus Grönholm, Peugeot, 3:17:52.5
2. Richard Burns, Peugeot, +1:27.3
3. Petter Solberg, Subaru, +2:49.6
4. Carlos Sainz, Ford, +2:53.8
5. Markko Märtin, Ford, +3:10.0
6. Tommi Mäkinen, Subaru, +4:34.1
7. Sebastian Lindholm, Peugeot, +5:36.4
8. Jani Paasonen, Mitsubishi, +5:55.3
9. Freddy Loix, Hyundai, +6:07.8
10. Sebastien Loeb, +6:13.6


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