The last time Äänekoski has seen world championship rallying was in the 1970s, so the return of Rally Finland to those parts is nothing short of historic. This is also the first time in 20 years that a stage has not been named after its geographical location. From the drivers’ point of view SS7, i.e. the Äänekoski-Valtra stage that starts in the Koivisto village in Äänekoski at 2:10 pm on Friday 29 July, is a fast-paced 7.4-kilometre dash. And it will captivate the spectators too – guaranteed.
The City of Äänekoski and Valtra are both official partners of Neste Rally Finland, and the latter of them has some rallying traditions too.
“Valtra’s success has been built in Äänekoski, and rally has proven to be an excellent event for us for bringing our tractor factory closer to both the national and international audiences. Neste Rally Finland has an excellent profile and visibility internationally, and our target group is clearly interested in the rally. It is a one-of-a-kind experience that is not easily forgotten”, says Valtra’s Marketing Director Mikko Lehikoinen.
Over the years, Valtra has teamed up with several well-known world rally champions, such as Juha Kankkunen, Tommi Mäkinen, Ari Vatanen, Marcus Grönholm and Carlos Sainz, who have all also used Valtra tractors on their own farms.
The city of Äänekoski is widely known for its diverse manufacturing industry as well as a city of sports, all the way from the famous javelin throwing family Kinnunen to its basketball players of Huima. Now the WRC arrives to the city, and Äänekoski wishes to create a unique and enjoyable Special Stage Äänekoski-Valtra in cooperation with its partners and the people of Koivisto village. The Neste Rally Finland will also have a strong presence in the street view of Äänekoski. The city of Äänekoski will be involved in the organizing of the special stage e.g. returning the roads to their former condition after the rally.
The organiser of Neste Rally Finland, AKK Sports Ltd, are pleased with the partnerships with both Äänekoski and Valtra.
“This type of co-operation model functions as an example of a good concept, where the work is being carried out as a joint effort between the stage organiser, sports clubs, village community, the city and partners. We get an opportunity to offer spectators an entertaining special stage, which we hope will provide families and rally fans with an even wider range of experiences in our event. Valtra will feature also in the family event in Suolahti on Wednesday as well as at the Harju City Special Stages and of course the Jyväskylä Paviljonki Rally HQ”, says the Marketing Director of Neste Rally Finland Heli Kemppainen.
On 27 July, i.e. Wednesday evening of the rally week, there will be an event for the whole family at the Valtra factory in Suolahti, where WRC drivers take the controls of Valtra tractors and battle against each other in a light-hearted competition. Also on the programme is a street hockey game by the players of the Jyväskylä-based ice hockey team JYP. Transportation to the event venue will be organised from both Jyväskylä and Äänekoski.
Tractor fever is also going to take over the Harju City Special Stages on 28 - 29 July, when the grown jewel of Valtra’s product range, the N4 Series’ Golden Edition tractor will take centre stage. Valtra will be looking for a co-driver for the extraordinary “triple zero car” via a competition on their social media sites. Rally-goers will also have chance to check out the Valtra demo truck and product range in the Jyväskylä Paviljonki service park throughout the whole event, 28 - 31 July. Featured are also two tractors, competitions and Valtra merchandise.
Neste Rally Finland is an annually organized qualifying round of the FIA World Rally Championship. The legendary rally, based in Central Finland and in the City of Jyväskylä, is known for its fast flowing gravel stages, spectacular jumps and fabulous lakeside sceneries. The rally, which will be run next summer on July 28-31, is one of the biggest annual events in the Nordic countries, and also attracts one of the largest entries in the Championship. www.nesterallyfinland.fi
Valtra Inc. develops, manufactures, markets and services Valtra tractors that are individualized for the way customers work. Renowned for their versatility and reliability, Valtra tractors are engineered to deliver high performance in demanding working conditions and on extreme terrains. Valtra is a worldwide brand of AGCO, being the leading tractor manufacturer in the Nordic countries and one of the most popular brands in Latin America. www.valtra.com