The Ouninpohja stage, one of the most famous in the World Rally Championship, will return to Rally Finland this year.
Organizers of the Aug. 2-4 rally have revealed the route for this year's event, which retains its Thursday-Saturday format. After a successful trial last year, the opening day of the event will be run around Lahti, south of the event's base in Jyvaskyla. The second day, which will be run on the roads out toward Keuruu, brings the return of another couple of favorite stages in the shape of Mokkipera and Palsankyla. The final day takes the cars back down the E63 toward Jamsa and Ouninpohja.
Ouninpohja is included twice at its classic 20-mile length – with the second run offering bonus points as it is the event's powerstage. The last time Ouninpohja ran to its full length was 2004.
"We wanted to run the long version of Ouninpohja because that stage lost a lot of its character when split in two," said Rally Finland clerk of the course Kai Tarkiainen. "Ouninpohja always gets big crowds of spectators and there's a lot going on. Through the years it has almost become the epitome of Finland's WRC round. To many people Ouninpohja equals the Neste Oil Rally Finland.
"The biggest change, in addition to the return of Ouninpohja, is that the special stages of Surkee and Leustu on the Saturday will be run in the opposite direction to what we have been used to in the last few years."
The organizers also announced a new three-year deal with host city Jyvaskyla.
"This is the spiritual home of Neste Oil Rally Finland," said CEO of AKK Sports (Finland organizer) Jarmo Mahonen. "It's where the roots and tradition lie. At the same time we're also happy to continue with the city of Lahti, a cooperation which got off to a good start [last year]."
The 18-stage event includes 187 competitive miles.