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  • Writer's pictureVIVIEN STREBELOW

Co-Driver Reeta Hämäläinen wins first Arctic Lapland Rally

The legendary Arctic Lapland Rally launches the 2022 Finnish Rally Championship: snow, ice and nature wilderness - the crews are faced with the toughest winter elements - and among them, a few female co-drivers took on the challenge. Emil Lindholm and Reeta Hämäläinen won the Rally with a great effort and skills.

Photo by Taneli Niinimäki / AKK

The third weekend of 2022 was set for the 57th edition of Arctic Rally Lapland, which marks the first round of the Finnish Rally Championship, with more than 220 kilometers of special stages and many changes to the 2021 edition, as it featured many new sections for drivers and co-drivers. A new special stage was added in Rovaniemi, at the Ounasvaara ski centre, but we also had familiar sections like Ristilampi at the remote Finnish Defence Forces training grounds. The start was on Friday morning at Aittajärvi, which is famous for being the Power Stage of WRC Arctic Rally Finland in 2021. Competitors would end the race on Saturday in Ristilampi, where the podium celebrations for the 2022 edition went underway.

"Pacenotes done for Arctic Lapland Rally 2022!"- Reeta Hämäläinen

Emil Lindholm, 2019 winner, was again back behind the wheel to finish the rally on a high and was navigated by Reeta Hämäläinen on a Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo. The whole rally was a battle between Lindholm and Teemu Asunmaa (Ville Mannisenmäki/ Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo). With just +0,1 seconds in favor of Asunmaa, they entered the last timed stage. "It’s been a great day except for a little drama on the last SS of the day. We had a spin but recovered quickly, losing about 16 seconds, but still maintaining the lead. Our nose got a minor dent but all good for tomorrow", Lindholm said on Friday evening. And it was a thriller - unil Asunmaa made a mistake, went into the snow and lost 10 minutes which gave Lindholm the opportunity to celebrate his second victory at the Arctic Lapland Rally - the first together with co-driver Reeta Hämäläinen, with more than a minute gap. "What an epic race in Arctic Lapland Rally 2022!" - wrote Hämäläinen on Sunday. "And my first win in this legendary rally (and Emil's second win)!" "It was absolutely crazy and fun in this winter wonderland adventure!" Asunmaa dropped down to 16th place, while Egon Kaur (Simm Silver/ Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) finished on the second step of the podium ahead of Mikko Heikkilä (Samu Vaaleri/ Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo). The second team with a female co-driver was classified in P32 overall, with Reijo Heikkilä and Riia Rantasalo (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) ahead of Mikko Hast and Anne Heinonen (BMW M3 E36) in P35. Tuukka Kauppinen and Riikka Hokkanen (Honda Civic) finished in 67th position ahead of Kirstjan Kajakas and Anni Villikka (Ford Fiesta Rally3) in P69. Kai-Dieter Kölle and Theresa Bockwoldt (Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2) crossed the finish line in 82nd position, Vili-Kalle Viitanen and Virva Viitanen were P85 and Riku Bitter and Jaana Outila (Honda Civic Type-R EP3) completed the race in 89th place. In the Suomi Cup, Mikko Hast and Anne Heinonen scored a third place to finish on the podium, out of 16 cars completing the rally in this class. The next round of the Finnish Rally Championship will take place from 4th to 5th February: the Auto Sorsa Riihimäki-Ralli in Riihimäki. Emil Lindholm and Reeta Hämäläinen now lead the championship standings with 34 points and a gap of 11 points ahead of Egon Kaur/Silver Simm.

Photo by Taneli Niinimäki / AKK



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