Round 6 of the 2019 FIA European Historic Sporting Rally Championship is unique as the Lahti Historic Rally in Finland is the only gravel rally on this season’s schedule. The challenging nature of the most northern event of the 2019 season on the 9th and 10th August has seen 54 entries received by the organisers, of which 18 are eligible to score championship points in the FIA EHSRC.
CATEGORY 4: THE BRITISH TAKE ON THE MIGHTY FINNS AT HOME
With the top two cars in the championship electing to miss the Lahti Historic Rally, the top EHSRC honours in Category 4 will be fought between four entries. Will Graham is currently third in the title race and will be joined once again in the BMW M3 by fellow Brit Michael Johnston.
The British crew will face a tough fight with three Finnish crews. The no5 Audi Quattro A2 of 2018 Lahti Historic Rally Cat 4 winner Ville Silvasti and his co-driver Asko Sairanen will be a leading contender on the 2019 event.
The no6 Toyota Celica GT-Four of Jari Latvala and Jouni Saarijärvi is also a strong contender for the top spot in Category 4 after finishing 3rd in Austria, with the no50 Skoda Favorit 136L of J Matti Tarvainen and Rauno Hurskainen also looking to go well on home turf.
CATEGORY 3: ‘ZIPPO’ LOOKING FOR THREE IN A ROW IN FINLAND
There are six top class entries in Category 3 with Round 4 and Round 5 class winner ‘Zippo’ looking to make it three in a row in the no2 Audi Quattro. For the Lahti Historic Rally the Italian will have a new co-driver Nicola Arena, his third different co-driver of the 2019 season.
Championship leaders Pentti Veikkanen and Timo Jaakkola will be relishing the prospect of defending their slender 4 point championship lead at home on the Lahti Historic Rally and will be once again competing in the no18 Porsche 911 SC
Reigning champions, and Rounds 2 and 3 winners, Karl Wagner and Gerda Zauner will be looking to return to winning ways in Finland, the Austrians hopeful that the no10 Porsche 911 SC will be able to once again take the fight to ‘Zippo’s’ flying Audi Quattro.
Esa Peltonen and Jyrki Saarto will be on home soil in their distinctive Toyota Starlet 1300, with a second Toyota Starlet of fellow Finns Teuvo Hämäläinen and Pirjo Rosberg also making their second start of the 2019 season on their home rally.
Finland’s Klaus Wilkman is swapping his Triumph TR8 for a Chrysler Avenger for the only gravel rally on the calendar and he will also be joined by co-driver Pasi Haataja, who replaces Hanna Valonen.
CATEGORY 2: CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER MYLLE DECIDES TO COMPETE IN FINLAND
Of the eleven Category 2 entries just three are EHSRC eligible cars, so the championship regulars will face plenty of opposition from the local drivers on the two day rally.
Championship leader Carlo Mylle confirmed his participation in the Lahti Historic Rally, the Belgian driver looking to extend his 5 point lead in the Category 2 title race. Mylle will be joined by his Round 4 winning co-driver Steven Vyncke in the no54 CMS Porsche 911 RSR.
Anders and Ingrid Johnson will once again try to put their bad luck that dogged them on the last two rallies behind them that saw the Swedes retire while leading after the first leg in their Porsche Carrrera RSR.
Villu Mättik and Arvo Maslenikov will be the third Category 2 entry in their VAZ 2101, the Estonian crew looking to add some more useful championship points to their 2019 tally.
CATEGORY 1: FORD v BMW v VOLVO IN CLASS BATTLE
Round 5 winners Ernie and Karen Graham are relishing the opportunity to take on the challenge of the Lahti Historic Rally in their Ford Escort Twin Cam. With championship leaders Antonio Parisi and Giuseppe D’Angelo not competing in Finland, the British crew have a great opportunity to close the 20 point gap to the Italians.
There are five EHSRC entries with two Fords, two BMWs and a Volvo taking part. As well as Ernie Grahams Ford Escort, the American manufacturer is also represented on the Category 1 entry by the no40 Ford Consul Cortina Lotus of James Calvert and James O’Brien, the Anglo-Irish crew swapping their VW Beetle for the Ford on the Finnish gravel rally.
Three Finnish crews complete the Category 1 line up with Round 2 winners Sverre Norrgard and Ari Koponen returning to the EHSRC in their no42 BMW 2002 Ti. Elias Kivitila and Timo Tuominen, who finished 3rd in class in Austria, are also competing in a BMW 2002 Ti.
Jari Hyvärinen and Jarno Ala-Turkia complete the Category 1 line up in the no47 Historic Rally Club Finland Volvo 122.
CLICK HERE for the entry list for the Lahti Historic Rally
THE LAHTI HISTORIC RALLY 09-10 AUGUST 2019
The Lahti Historic Rally is the only gravel rally on this year’s schedule and invokes the spirit of the legendary 1000 Lakes Rally, with a total of 12 stages covering 154km.
On Friday 9 August the competitors will tackle six special stages covering a total of 78 km and
Day two will feature another six stages covering 75km. The ceremonial finish will take place at Lahti harbour from 17h00.
For more information on the Lahti Historic Rally CLICK HERE