Jussi Valimaki has started the new year in the best possible manner, dominating the group-A class of the Arctic Lapland Rally last weekend.
Based around the city of Rovaniemi, the captial of Finlands northern-most province Lapland, Arctic Lapland Rally tested the crews over two days and 218km of snow-covered roads.
Jussi and co-driver Jarkko Kalliolepo lead the strong group-A field from start to finish. Again running their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, the same car they used to win their 2005 APRC title but converted to group-A specs, the pair held off Ari Vihavainen (Ford Focus WRC) to win by 56 seconds.
In the overall standings, Jussi and Jarkko missed out on a podium, fourth behind the the group-N cars of Juha Salo, Kosti Katajamaki and Jari Ketomaa.
Although the pair were happy with first place, the -15 degree C temperatures were cold, even for native Finns, Jussi and Jarkko saying they missed the hot weather of the APRC events!
To see some great in-car video of the event, check out Jussicam, free to view from Jussi’s web site.
The Finnish series now moves south, to Laukaa (just north of Jyvaskyla), with Peurunkaralli starting on the 15th of February.
Photos courtesy of jussivalimaki.com and Plopcrew Productions.