Milla Mäkelä takes home 3rd in 2021 V8 Thunder Championship
The final round of the 2021 V8 Thunder Championship was held at Alastaro Circuit in Finland, with Milla Mäkelä targeting the Vice-Champion title. After a season-long battle, the Finnish driver was tied on points for P2 – a remarkably solid season.
The 2021 champion had already been crowned at the previous round at Kymiring, but, behind series dominator Toni Lähteenmäki, the battle for second was close between Milla Mäkelä and Jonne Rautjärvi – with the young Finnish woman just 4 points ahead before the season finale.
The V8 Thunder series – Finland's premier racing championship featuring some spectacularly powerful muscle cars – headed to Alastaro, where teams and drivers were welcomed by mixed weather conditions for the final round of the 2021 season.
“Our goal was to deliver a solid weekend." – commented Milla Mäkelä, the only female racer on the grid. "We have had our difficulties in the final rounds for the past two years and now we knew that a solid performance should do it to fight for the vice-champion title.” – she added, as the MTec Motorsport driver was getting ready for the final showdown.
On Saturday, Sami Talvitie was the man to beat: showing great pace on his home track, he made up for the many technical issues of the last round and won with a small margin of 0,439 seconds ahead of Marko Rantanen - who followed Talvitie the whole race, but wasn't ultimately able to pass the strong race leader.
The two contenders for the Vice-Championship finished respectively third and fourth, with Rautjärvi just ahead of Milla Mäkelä. This would postpone the deciding battle to Sunday, with a slight advantage for Mäkelä who still held a 2 points lead on her side.
“We had a plan to attack at the start of the race." – she explained. "We thought that the track would be half wet and that we have only one warm up lap as usual to prepare the brand new slicks for the race, so we went quite high with tyre pressures."
"Due to towing cars and other variables, the track was dry and instead of one there was a total of 4 warm up laps! My tyres were ruined before the race even started.” – said Mäkelä.
It was indeed a wet day for the final race of the season; with a stunning start, Milla Mäkelä moved from fifth to first position at the first corner, but was hit from behind and spun around - which eventually dropped her back.
“On Sunday it was a wet race and I had a P5 start due to bad lap time in Race 1" – Milla recalled. "I got a great start and was running first in the first corner, but then I got hit from behind and spun."
"I gained one position at the end of lap 1 and after avoiding a collision between Jonne and Markku Blomqvist I was in P2 at the start of the second lap."
The race was then interrupted by a red flag for an incident. At the restart, Milla Mäkelä again stunned everyone and fired into second place from the third row of the grid. Unfortunately, she was then passed by Talvitie and had to defend her position from the attacks of Rautjärvi.
But, when a technical issue hit the #15 car, Mäkelä lost the battle with his direct rival and finished fourth, which secured Rautjärvi the Vice Champion title by one more second place. Tied on points, Milla scored bronze in the 2021 championship.
“Jonne [Rautjärvi] got past me when my third gear started playing tricks after mid race." – Milla explained. "I had to drive with one hand holding the gear in and only one on the steering wheel at the high speed corners. I was able to keep up with Jonne, but I didn’t really get a chance to overtake when driving one handed."
"It was a good fight though and it all happened on the track! We are tied in points now, but as we have less second place finishes this season, we got P3 in the series."
"This season was amazing and the races were so intense. Huge thanks to everyone who supported us and thanks to my team!”
Ahead, Talvitie passed Rantanen and repeated his Saturday's victory – making it two out of two on his home race. Rantanen, who was stepping in for this years' freshly crowned champion Lähteenmäki, finished second, ahead of Rautjärvi and Mäkelä.
You can find the onboard from Milla Mäkelä's final round at Alastaro Circuit here.
Mäkelä was the protagonist of a remarkably solid championship, scoring many consecutive podiums and always battling for the top-three in one of Scandinavia's top racing series.
While a spectacular season is now over, Milla Mäkelä will continue to be busy as she was nominated the new V8 Thunder Finland chairwoman and has accepted this role for the upcoming 2022 season; the young Finnish lady is likely to take on the new challenge and return to the track, now chasing the title.
Bring on 2022.