The first of the competitors of the 58th Arctic Lapland Rally to cross the Lordi’s Square stage at 11:00 on Friday is the 2020 WRC3 champion Jari Huttunen, with his co-driver Antti Haapala by his side. The opening special stage of the event’s this edition is 33,80km long Jyrhämäjärvi, which just happens to be longest in the itinerary for the whole event. After the longest of tales to tell this year, it’s time to head back to the vicinity of the Rovaniemi city centre and take the spectator special stage at the Mäntyvaara racetrack followed by the mid-day service break.
Under the darkening skies the arctic adventure continues after the service with two very demanding tests of courage, first in Kaihuvaara and then on Kivalo Siikakämä’s partially completely new forest tracks, with a total of more than 55 gruelling kilometres amid the fells. The day ends with the second running of the Mäntyvaara spectator special stage, where the bright lights glimmering in the darkness of the night heat the rally atmosphere all the way to the grandstand’s ceiling.
Saturday is the day of two songs and it starts a little how Friday ended: In the morning twilight, the crews start towards Siikakämä, but this time the special stage is run in a different form than the evening before. Then as the sun rises to the top of the fells, engines are released to sing their highest tunes at the picturesque roller coaster stage of Aittajärvi. Finally the morning run is crowned by the Ounasvaara spectator special stage near the Rovaniemi city centre. There the public can admire the drivers’ performances as they take the fell’s side from the top all the way down to the ski stadium’s spectacular viewing areas.
After the following mid-day service, the cars and crews are prepared for the rally’s demanding finale: the traditional “army area’s” run of three special stages from Heinunkierto via Sarriojärvi to the climax of Ristilampi. The route will undoubtedly take its toll and decide who gets to lift the winner’s reindeer antlers into the air at the Lordi’s Square’s podium celebration.