One of Finland's leading rally drivers Ari Vatanen, will get the chance after all to meet fellow countryman Hann Mikkola in this year's Royal Automobile Club (RAC) rally starting in Bath, England on Sunday (16 November).
GVs Tank, Ari Vatanen and others troops receiving orders to board tank near Helsinki, Finland (3 shots)
GV EXTERIOR Vatanen arriving at military headquarters to visit General
SV INTERIOR Vatanen speaking with General, asking permission to enter rally
SV INTERIOR Vatanen and other troops training in military gym
SV EXTERIOR Vatanen undergoing army parade training (2 shots)
SPORT: MOTOR RALLYING
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Background: One of Finland's leading rally drivers Ari Vatanen, will get the chance after all to meet fellow countryman Hann Mikkola in this year's Royal Automobile Club (RAC) rally starting in Bath, England on Sunday (16 November). Ari received his draft into Finland's military service less than two weeks before the rally in which he hopes to finally take a big win from his teammate.
SYNOPSIS: Ari Vatanen, who has been driving Ford Escort for the past eight years, has found himself making a big switch to tanks. But he is not the first Finish sportsman to have passed through this particular Hussar unit, serving the compulsory 11 month military training. Olympic gold medallist Lasse Viren, distance runner, is but one of the former members.
But Vatanen, said to epitomise the Finish quality of "Sisu" -- a dogged defiance of opposition -- is determined to take the 1800 mile (3,000 km) rally Mikkola.
A trip to military headquarters and a meeting with Major-General Sterven resulted in permission to complete in the event. The Lombard RAC rally, which will last four days and two nights, has been won two years in succession by Mikkola.
But Vatanen's training is constant and Mikkola himself has said his rival is "in great form" and will probably win it. In the army, his indoor exercise means a workout in the gym.
In civilian life, Vatanen spends his summer keeping in the form at his lakeside home 30 miles (50 kilometres) from Helsinki. He has been described as a young man with a strong religious faith, and is an engaging well-respected driver on the driver on the international rally circuit. The sponsors are mounting a military-style plan for their three Ford Escort cars in the race, with radio-linked support vehicles that should cover almost any eventually.