Double P3 for Milla Mäkelä in V8 Thunder Finland at Alastaro
A few hurdles surely did not stop Milla Mäkelä in the penultimate round of the Finnish V8 Thunder championship, as she still managed to score two third place finishes after a potential victory slipped through her fingers. Here what happened on an eventful weekend in Alastaro.
The fourth and penultimate round of the Finnish V8 Thunder Championship at Alastaro wasn't an easy one for Milla Mäkelä, as she was closer than ever before to a victory - until oil on track denied her the win. But with two third place finishes, she climbed the podium again and gained enough points to secure at least the top three in the championship, as she now has a safe margin to the driver behind. In the first qualifying session at Alastaro, championship leader Toni Lähteenmäki was fastest once again, ahead of Harri Salimen and Milla Mäkelä. Lähteenmäki had a great start from pole but, behind him, Salminen struggled and dropped down to 5th, while Milla held third place after Ortju went by in the first corners. Miko Kiminko tried to stay close, but slipped off track and brought out the Safety Car. The new order saw Lähteenmäki ahead of Ortju and Milla Mäkelä; Salminen also went off and retired. At the restart, Lähteenmäki and Ortju pulled away, but Milla Mäkelä was not far behind. Later in the race, there was drama when several drivers spun and brought out the SC once again, now with just a few laps left under green. Lähteenmäki scored another victory, preceding Ortju and Milla Mäkelä. “I was quite satisfied with P3 as a starting position, but then I just got a bad start and there was a lot going on around me in the first few corners", Mäkelä commented. "Luckily I avoided any collisions and made my way back up to third. From then on the race was a bit boring really", she continued. "Some rain caused the front pack to spread out a bit before a safety car was deployed. When the safety car ended I got a try to snatch P2, but it didn’t work out this time.” In Race 2, it was again a pole position for Lähteenmäki - but this time Milla Mäkelä had a great start and overtook the championship leader for first place. At the back of the grid, there was trouble for Ilmari Wallo, who went off track, with also Punkari and Salminen making contact. Salminen was able to continue, but Punkari got stuck in the gravel trap and required the intervention of the Safety Car. Milla Mäkelä led the restart, ahead of Lähteenmäki and Ortju - until she slipped on an oil patch left by Lasse Yrjänä's car, who had been struggling with technical issues. Luckily, at the same moment Mäkelä was off track and into the gravel, the race was stopped. Milla was back in front at the green flag, but Lähteenmäki could make a move stick soon after and snatched back the lead. Ortju was also putting pressure on Milla Mäkelä for second place: they eventually made contact and Mäkelä spun but could rejoin in third position - behind Tähtinen, who had avoided the crash. With the Safety Car deployed, the race ended with Lähteenmäki scoring another victory and sealing the 2022 V8 Thunder Finland title for the third time. “I’m pretty sure I’ve never had such a roller coaster of emotions during one race!", said Milla Mäkelä after the weekend. "I was prepared to fight for the win today and our whole team made a great effort to make that happen." "Luck just wasn’t on our side this time. I would have loved to challenge Toni again for the win with clean tyres, but the safety car stayed on track until the race was finished", Mäkelä concluded. The final round of the V8 Thunder Finland season will take place from 17th to 18th September at Ahvenisto, with the battle for second and third place in the championship with see Milla Mäkelä aiming for the runner up spot in the series for the second year in a row.