Some meeting room, Hotel Scandic, 14:07
Woke up heck of early and ate the free breakfast at the hotel. It was very similar to the free breakfast at my hostel in Helsinki. We got on the bus and drove out to the shakedown stage. It was pretty awesome.
We hung out next to some underage Finnish drinkers and smokers and watched the drivers test out their cars a bit. Saw all the greats plus some JWRC and Group N cars. We’re hoping to get to see some F cup cars on Saturday, but it looks unlikely.
We took a stroll through service, checking out rally builds and foreign cars and service techniques. Tom took particular joy in finding a fuel cell set up that vindicated his design that was rejected by Rally-America, at our great inconvenience. In other words, our car which is now nearly impossible to fill with gas because of the rules we followed, would hve been compliant with FIA rules and able to compete in the WRC had we built it the way we wanted. But seeing the cars in service was pretty awesome. There was also an outlet for rally shirts where I bought two Marcus Gronholm shirts for 14€. compared to the other prices, this was a steal. No Gronholm, no party.
We then walked over to the Scandic Hotel and got to listen to a rally talk. Th interviewer of the Eurosport coverage that everyone in the US illegally downloads, Julian Porter, was there predicting the future. He says whoever wins Finland will win the championship. He also said that Hirvonen would win Finland. After that claim, we got to talk with Hirvonen, himself. We sat merely three rows from the current leader of the WRC and one of my favorite of the current drivers. It was pretty awesome. We got to see the other of my favorite drivers, Jari-Matti Latvala, in the lobby randomly after the talk. It was pretty rad.
Killeri Super Special Stage, Finland, 18:45
They are now lining up the first of 124 cars to run two laps of this former horse track. They don’t run it NASCAR style, they run side by side with a crossover in the middle just like the video games. I’m pretty excited about the first competitive miles for the rally. We’re sitting in the gravel, surrounded by hundreds of Finns. There’s crazy Finnish pouring out of some loudspeakers and the sun is starting it’s four hour sunset. We’re right by the jump. Sweet.
Room 110, Hotel Keurusselka, by a lake, Finland, 23:00
Remember when we went to Rally Finlan that one time? That was awesome. We got to see 124 cars run most of the stage. One of the earlier cars stuffed it into a barrier and got stuck, so we saw a DNF on the first stage! Pictures were a little fun, because there were thousands of people in my way, but watching all the cars was awesome. Also, we’re in Finland. It’s been pretty awesome. Also, it’s awesome.
I’m going to sleep.