The long two-decade wait may soon be over, but why not get greedy? With a hero at home in this vein of form, why not dream of a double?
Incidentally, the last time Finland toasted a local winner and later that year celebrated a world title was also in 2002. In fact, showing how good the local riders are in their backyard, only three times in history has a Finn won the WRC and not also won Rally Finland that year – and each time it was another Finn who took the win!
|Year||World champion||Finland winner|
|nineteen eighty one||Ari Vatanen||Ari Vatanen|
|1983||Hannu Mikkola||Hannu Mikkola|
|1985||Timo Salonen||Timo Salonen|
|1986||Juha Kankkunen||Timo Salonen|
|1987||Juha Kankkunen||Markku Alen|
|1991||Juha Kankkunen||Juha Kankkunen|
|1993||Juha Kankkunen||Juha Kankkunen|
|1996||Tommi Makinen||Tommi Makinen|
|1997||Tommi Makinen||Tommi Makinen|
|1998||Tommi Makinen||Tommi Makinen|
|1999||Tommi Makinen||Juha Kankkunen|
|2000||Marcus Gronholm||Marcus Gronholm|
|2002||Marcus Gronholm||Marcus Gronholm|
So instead of putting your spare change on a Thierry Neuville or Elfyn Evans title win, the form book would suggest that a Rovanperä Finland victory next week is a much wiser investment.
But keep your horses, because a Finn who wins in Finland is no longer the same safe bet as before.
Cast your eyes on Rally Finland’s honor roll over the past decade and it’s depressing reading for locals. In the last 10 editions, Finland have always led with three victories, but they share this honor with France while the United Kingdom and Estonia have both won two Rally Finland each since 2011.
It is this expectation that we talked about earlier. While the Finns clearly haven’t been deprived of a home winner as long as they have been of a world champion, the younger generation haven’t shared the same joy in toasting the game. one of their own than their parents or grandparents.