Four-time world champion Juha Kankkunen says he is delighted with the manner in which he sign-off his Rally Finland career on Saturday.
The Finn started his home round of the World Rally Championship for the 22nd time and completed the two-day route, the first time he’s ever competed on a two-day Rally Finland, in eighth place. Not only did he score points in his Stobart Ford World Rally Team Focus RS WRC, but he also collected the Abu Dhabi Spirit of the Rally Award.
Kankkunen said: “I was proud to hear the support of so many fans this weekend and was very to be here with some of the best rallying people in the world - many of them have known me for more than 20 years. Today was a long day and I struggled to warm up first thing but it was nice to entertain the big crowd with some slides this weekend - even though that’s not the fastest way to go!
I drove at my own pace for this rally and didn’t try to catch the title-chasers. My aim was to finish in the top ten so I am very happy to have finished in eighth and, of course, ahead of Kimi [Räikkönen].”
Talking about his award, Kankkunen added “It is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a World Rally Car. I hadn’t spent much time in the latest generation cars and I knew there have been a lot of changes, but I didn’t have any undue surprises. I am delighted to receive this award. It has been fantastic to get back behind the wheel, and thank you to Abu Dhabi for this additional recognition.”
For Kankkunen, the Rally Finland era is now over. Having won the event three times, he says he will not grace the forests around Jyvaskyla again, but he does intend to compete in the sport still - more likely in classic competition, driving cars similar to the Ford Escort he used on this year’s Rally of Portugal.