Co-drivers challenged by high-speed Rally Finland stages

Former co-driver of two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm, Timo Rautiainen believes that the blistering speeds of Rally Finland pose an even-greater challenge for co-drivers this weekend.

Retired co-driver Rautianen, who is a steward for the FIA and has won Rally Finland seven times in eight years with Grönholm, spoke about the challenges co-drivers face at Rally Finland both logistically and physically on the gravel roads near Jyväskylä.

“In Finland, corners are usually hidden behind crests, so it’s very important to note on which side of the road to position the car before the jump. At most other rallies, it’s quite obvious when you approach a crest where the road goes afterwards. 

“The famous Ouninpohja special stage is a perfect example of a Finland test where the roads are flowing and corners follow on quickly from each other. It can be like a machine gun sometimes for the co-driver reading the notes back to the driver there.”

Timo also added about his injury in 2004, where he broke a vertebra in his back. The Finn explained about co-drivers needing to protect themselves for the constant jumps on the Finnish stages.

“If I knew a jump was coming, I braced myself and tensed my legs to try to move my weight upwards a little. That’s OK, but the problem comes when the car jumps unexpectedly at a point you didn’t include in the pace notes during the recce.

“It’s hard because a co-driver is staring down at the notes all the time and that’s when you can jolt your back. A driver can hold onto the steering wheel to brace himself but the co-driver only has his notebook to cling onto!”