Gronholm : Bravery is everything in Finland
“It’s an incredible rally”
Marcus Gronholm has started his home round of the World Rally Championship 18 times and won it seven - making him the most successful driver on the event in the history of the series, but he admits it takes a specific mindset to win in Jyvaskyla.
With average speeds regularly topping 120kph down the gravel-strewn, tree-lined roads, it’s no wonder a win on Rally Finland means more than virtually any other rally. And it’s no wonder the event has been dominated by Scandinavians on all but four occasions.
“It’s an incredible rally,” said Gronholm. “You hear drivers talking about how quick it is and it is, really, really fast. You have to be able to deal with the speed and to know that after this jump there is another jump coming, then another and another. It’s incredible, all of the time there is something happening in the car."
“There is never really a straight piece of road with nothing to do. And then the trees are always right there, next to the road - and you know that if you go out, you are going out straight into the trees. When I finished the Ouninpohja stage in 2007, I knew I couldn’t go any faster. It’s incredible the feeling when you come out of a stage like that and you have been right on - and over - the limit so many times. But that’s what Rally Finland is. You have to go out of yourself and your comfort zone to win, because the speed is so big.”
Gronholm added that as well as needing to take big risks, you also had to avoid mistakes at all costs.
“In Finland,” he said, “the rally is usually decided by such small seconds, you cannot afford a spin or anything like that. All of the time, it’s tenths of seconds. I’m sure it will be the same [this week].”
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