Official Release: The Rally Finland would not be the Rally Finland without one man: Rauno Aaltonen. The winner of the legendary Monte Carlo Rally in the Mini Cooper S in 1967 not only knows the course around Jyväskylä – the region around the city stages this year’s Rally Finland – but has also been on a first-name basis with many of the officials at the Rally Finland for decades.

Aaltonen, now 74 years old, won the Finnish Rally Championship in 1961 and went on to claim the title in the European Rally Championship in 1965. His spectacular driving style earned him the nickname “The Flying Finn” and his courageous drifts – not only on the Finnish gravel stages – are still the topic of many conversations on today’s rally scene.

Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke will also need nerves of steel in Finland. The fast Finnish routes with their many jumps demand plenty of ability and a healthy portion of courage from the drivers. “Finland is like a poker game,” says Aaltonen. Fans out on the course can experience the thrills at close hand.

For day one of the rally, Aaltonen recommends a spot on the second stage, which is given the Finnish nickname of “Laukaan Lossinmutka”. Aaltonen: “If you want to get a good view of the course, you must get here very early. It is worth it though.”

Here, the course crosses a wide road at right angles before heading downhill slightly into a left-hander. The terrain is clear, so you can watch the teams arrive and depart – if you are there in time, that is.

“On day two you must head to the seventh special stage,” Aaltonen advises. Here too, you can see for a long way, but a series of tight corners is actually rather unusual for the Rally Finland, meaning the driver and car must work as one here in order to avoid losing any time. The view away from the course is also worth a mention. “This hotspot is traditionally the point at which many VIP guests can be found,” says Aaltonen.

And finally day three of the rally, which not only sees the winner crowned, but also promises to provide the absolute highlight of the event: perhaps the most spectacular jump of the entire rally season. “This spot is called Urrian Hyppy in Finland,” says Aaltonen. “Thousands of fans make the pilgrimage here every year to see who has the nerve to risk everything.” This is where the boundaries between driving and flying merge. And the best thing: the drivers take off twice here, on the 14th and 19th special stages.

The question remains where Rauno Aaltonen will watch his home event. “I followed the first WRC outing of the MINI Motorsport Team at Sardinia from home via TV, ” says Aaltonen. “But this time I will be travelling with the MINI WRC Team.” A walking hotspot, if you wish …

You can find all hotspots and more tips for the Rally Finland here.

(via MINI Motorsports)