A winter wonderland – DirtFish’s Arctic day three

The final day was a shorter one but no less enjoyable


Salt in porridge, yes or no? Apparently it’s a thing in Finland. I’ve got to be honest, I’m not a huge fan. Unwilling to leave the bowl untouched – that would be bad form – I found bananas, berries, honey and cream and fixed it that way.

Welcome to the third and final day of Arctic Rally Finland.

Even though the first stage wasn’t until 10am, it was still an early start and an early breakfast for team DirtFish, with plenty of videos to make to preview another super-exciting WRC Sunday.

One of the most difficult aspects of covering rallies in these COVID-impacted times is the lack of face time. In current coronavirus speak, DirtFish is in what’s known as low density – we’re allowed on the stages and into a regulated media zone which offers the opportunity to talk to the drivers via a two-meter gap. High density is inside the service park. Never the twain shall meet.


Between media zones, the only way to talk to drivers, co-drivers and team principals is via WhatsApp or the old fashioned way, by talking to them on the telephone. This has led to a number of quite cool calls complete with a backing track of current generation World Rally Car. There was a fair bit of that this morning.

In terms of stages, this was one of the more relaxed and laid-back Sundays, with only a single stage repeated. Watching the second of those two was an absolute nail-biter. Could Solberg make it stick? Of course he could. Could Tänak land the big one? Never in doubt.

A few of the drivers had commented that the powerstage was a little bit dull. Not from where I was sitting. Watching cars barreling between the snowbanks at 120mph was quite extraordinary and another absolute treat on offer from running a rally inside the Arctic Circle.

It’s been a full-on winter round of the World Rally Championship with an overtime-clocking Santa thrown in for good measure

All too soon, it was time to get on the plane and head south for Helsinki. Convenient as 500mph is when you want to get somewhere quickly, it didn’t quite match the Lapland-bound sleeper train out of Finland’s capital, our chosen method of outbound travel.

Equally, our seats did come with the added bonus of being surrounded by co-drivers. Surprising how much space crash helmets take up in the overhead locker, eh, Seb Marshall and Mikko Markkula…

I’m sure I’ll write more about this next week when, at DirtFish, we debrief round two, but I would just like to say how much I’ve enjoyed Arctic Rally Finland. It’s been an absolute blast of chilly Arctic chilliness.

It’s been a full-on winter round of the World Rally Championship with an overtime-clocking Santa thrown in for good measure.

Until next time, diary.

Kiitos. Hyvästi.