Recce Updates McKleins Rally Tips have now been updated after our rally recce. You will be able to find the latest insights highlighted, to give you the most up-to-date overview for this rally.
It might sound clichéd, but if you were only ever going to see one WRC rally in your life, then Finland should be the one. Rally Finland is more than just a rally; its an event. The organisers put in a massive effort to ensure that spectators can access and watch the stages, roam the service park, be part of the podium ceremony atmosphere and also experience other entertainments in and around Jyväskylä, the host city. Jyväskylä is normally a small university town, but for the week of the rally its packed to the rafters and it truly comes alive with a 24-hour buzz.
Out in the forests the action is some of the most dramatic you will ever see. The undulating roads make the stages feel three-dimensional, the rally resembles a high-speed rollercoaster with hundreds of crests and plenty of wild jumps. Its no wonder Rally Finland is the favourite of so many of the drivers. Access to the best spectating locations is always very well organised and highly controlled. You will need to buy a rally pass for yourself and normally this includes the parking charges. A four-day pass for the whole event makes good financial sense, but do be aware that most things in Finland tend to be on the expensive side.
Accommodation is often a big issue because anything close to Jyväskylä tends to be fully booked up well in advance. You could try looking further afield to the South, there are a few hotels near to Jämsä and Tampere, then [much further afield] Lahti. One good option would be to rent a camper van or just take a tent and try some camping. Most of the spectator points on the rally have dedicated places for both.
For eating out, theres a massive choice of cuisines in Jyväskylä at varying price-points and the bigger hotels also have restaurants. From Thursday to Sunday theres plenty of decent street food to be found on the main pedestrian area in the centre of Jyväskylä. Its well worth experiencing a night out soaking up the atmosphere of the downtown outdoor terraced bars, beware they do get extremely busy on both Friday and Saturday nights.
Finally, whilst this is a summer event and temperatures can be very warm, Finlands weather is also quite fickle. Pack some light waterproofs for potential rain and, most importantly, take some mosquito repellent. Finland is full of lakes and that means there are plenty of mosquitos in an around the forests.
Shakedown: Ruuhimäki, 4.62km
As WRC shakedown stages go, they dont come any better than Ruuhimäki. There really is only one place to go to watch the action and that is in the forest from km 3.4-4.3. Here you will find the famous crests that start with one big tabletop jump, then a jump over a crest on a left-hand corner, quickly followed by a big jump on a relatively straight road. Its a special place to spectate because the sounds are amazing. First you will hear the cars rumble in the distant background, then there will be loud blasts from the marshals whistles before the appearance cars on full throttle as they pass. On the jumps the drivers keep the accelerator pressed down flat and the cars make a fantastic sound as the engines hit the rev limiter in mid-air. To get to this section of the stage couldnt be easier; you just park in the main car park close to the cross roads at Lievestuore [road E63] and follow the crowds walking-in.
SS1/13: Harju, 2.31km
Also known as the Jyväskylä street stage, Harju is predominantly run on asphalt. With this in mind the best place to try and get to is the small gravel section at km 1.2. It is downhill and narrow, with a tricky left-right combination at the bottom of the hill. There are trees on the outside of the corner, close to the road, which makes this quite an interesting spectacle.
SS 2/5: Halinen, 7.59km
This is a very short test with a couple of interesting points with easy access for spectators. The first comes soon after the start at km 0.4, in the forest. This is a small jump, which leads directly into a tightening left-hand corner. This corner has caught out many drivers, sliding off the road at this corner, when used on Finnish National rallies. For the access there is parking close to the start.
At km 5.1 there is a very long straight with a dip before a crest. At this point the cars will get airborne at very high speed. The parking area to use for this jump is at the junction at km 5.9. To find the parking take Road 23 out of Jyväskylä, turn right onto Road 18 before Petäjävesi and then right again after 2km. Follow the signs for P3.
SS3/6: Urria, 12.75km
Urria is a very well known stage of Rally Finland, making a welcome return to the 2017 route. There really is only one place to go and this is the section from km 8.8-9.5, where you have two great choices of viewing spots. At km 8.9 is the famous big Urria jump, which is a very sharp angled crest that the drivers must slow down for because the landing zone is on a steep downhill slope. Normally one or two drivers will not slow down enough, jump massively and land heavily on the cars nose.
The next spot is just 400m further into the stage. This is a crest on a right-hand corner where the cars jump sideways at high speed. This notorious point was the scene of Mikko Hirvonens massive crash in 2010. The access to these points is the same, turning south of Road 23, 8km west of Petäjävesi. Follow the signs and marshals instructions.
SS4/7: Jukojärvi, 21.31km
For 2017 the Jukojärvi test is run in the opposite direction to 2016. From km 1.6-3.7 there is a wide expanse of open farmland where you can see the cars for a long period. The section starts with a 90° right-hand junction and a small crest at km 2.0. Then the cars leave the forest and accelerate through some sweeping corners, passing straight over a narrow wooden bridge beside a lake. Just after the bridge [at km 3.2] there is a jump. The access to this area is good and the parking is well organised (signposted P3) in fields close to the junction km 3.7. To arrive there you turn north off Road 23, 3km before Keuruu.
Of big interest on this stage will be a big jump at km 16.3. The approach speed is massive and the crest is similar to a tabletop jump. Continue a further 1.4km [km 17.7] and you will see a good left-hand junction at the edge of a lake. Here you have some very typical Finnish scenery. The access to these two places is the same. From Jyväskylä take Road 23 towards Pori, after 30km turn right at Petäjävesi onto Road 18. After 25km turn left and follow the parking signs (signposted P8). The junction is at the end of this parking road, whereas to find the jump you can take one of two signposted walking tracks off the parking road through the forest – the walk takes approximately 15 minutes.
SS8/11: Äänekoski-Valtra, 7.39km
This short stage is pretty good for viewing fast flowing corners with an excellent spectator point at km 1.6. The cars into view on a left-hand corner over a crest, which is closely followed by a fast right. The access to this point you must drive east past the stage start on Road 69, turning left after approximately 2km, following the signs for the car park.
SS9/12: Laukaa, 11.76km
Not used since 2011, the Laukaa stage makes a welcome return to Rally Finland. Laukaa itself is a very small town, famed in the rally community as the home of Juha Kankkunen. We will have an update after our recce. In the North end of the stage is a very interesting long left hand corner with good viewing to be found at km 2.9. Here it is open and quite scenic. The access from Jyväskylä comes from road d 637 towards Laukaa for approx. 15 km, turn right onto road 640, signposted Lievestuore25/Vihtavouri After 3 km turn right onto road 640 towards Lievestuore LIEVESTUORE 21. Drive for approx. 6 km and turn left towards Tarvaala and follow signs for P1. From the parking you need to walk 1.5km back towards the stage start.
SS10: Lankamaa, 21.68km
At km 12.5 there is an open left-hand junction on a wide road, which should be fast and spectacular. The access is from Road 69, turning off towards Hänniskylä. There is plenty of parking on the wide road leading to the junction.
Another option comes at km 19.9. Here there rally cars fly flat-out over a crossroads. There is plenty of parking close to the crossroads, which can be reached from Laukaa, taking Juha Kankkunen tie, turning left onto Nurijäarventie.
Food and drink
The rally covers a huge amount of ground on the first full day and a lengthy lunch stop is probably not something to fit in to the schedule. This is really a day to buy what you need in one of the many petrol service stations anywhere along the route. The most popular refuelling stop will be at the main highway crossroads on the outskirts of Petäjävesi. Here there are fast food outlets as well as a large sit down self-service restaurant.
SS14/20: Pihlajakoski, 14.85km
This is great stage for drivers, but not so good for spectators because of the very limited access. Your only two options are to either walk in from the start or take the main junction at km 5.2. Close to the start [km 0.5] is a flowing section where the cars pop in and out of the forest, at km 0.6 is a wide right-hand hairpin.
The junction at km 5.2 is an interesting one because the cars change from a narrow road onto to a wide one, which should see them sliding with oversteer as they put all the power down. Continue for another 400 metres to km 5.6 and you will see a very fast right-hand corner over a crest. The access is lengthy but straightforward; you must drive to the South towards Kuhmoinen, turning left towards Ruolahti.
SS15/21: Päijälä, 22.68km
This is a super fast stage, full of flowing crests, typified by the section at km 5.1-5.6. The sequence here is as follows: right over crest, into a left, followed by another small crest into a right-hander. 200m later there is a big crest just before a right-hand corner. The access to this section is very good. From Road 325 turn towards Sappentie, follow this for 7.9km and then turn left.
At km 7.7 you will find one of the biggest jumps on Rally Finland. The best way to access this is to continue along the same road as above, until it meets the stage at km 8.6. From there you can walk back towards the jump.
SS16/19: Ouninpohja 24.36km
Ouninpohja is the most famous stage on Rally Finland and a genuine classic of WRC. There are a few famous landmarks on the stage and we would recommend you see them for the full Rally Finland experience. At km 5.9 is the big tabletop jump known as the Yellow house jump. The take off speed can be over 170km/h and the record jump length is 57m. There is a public car park which can be accessed from Road 9. Continue for 12.7km after passing the Jämsä roundabout, then turn left onto a gravel road, which leads all the way to the stage.
Kakaristo Farm is next famous landmark on the stage. It comes at km 23 and its a location full of atmosphere packed with thousands of fans. The cars enter into the spectating zone on a really fast left-hander, which is followed by a tight right hand hairpin. There is an abundance of well-organised parking in open fields close to the main E63 road. A further 800m into the stage [km 23.8] is a man-made VIP jump, which cars fly nicely over.
SS17/18: Saalahti, 4.21km
A short stage with one really good place to watch. At km 0.6 is a wide long left-hand corner with a lake view behind. It is a very typical Finnish scene and has direct parking via a loop on a gravel access road just north of the stage.
Food and drink:
If you go to Kakaristo farm then you have a selection of stalls selling makara (Finnish hot-dogs) and burgers. Alternatively its more of the same with the big petrol stations selling all the usual supplies.
SS22/24: Lempää, 6.80km
This short stage has two big action spots. At km 5.5 is a sideways jump over a crest of a really fast left-hand corner. For access head towards the stage finish and follow signs for public parking [P3] 1km before the finish.
The second great place is the very last corner of the stage. This is a left-hand corner which the cars cut on the inside and pop out of the cut on two wheels. There is plenty of easy-to-access parking at the stage finish.
SS23/25 (Power Stage): Oittila, 10.12km
This was a new stage on Rally Finland in 2016 and the most popular spot for viewing was at the main spectator junction with easy access. This comes at km 8.2 and it is a right left combination of corners where the rally cars traverse from a wide road to a narrower one. The access is off Road 610, onto a wide gravel road which leads to where the cars exit the stage finish. You just have to park wherever you can on this road [signposted P3, but beware as it gets extremely busy] and walk in.