How Janni Hussi made the final step into WRC

Rally Sweden was Finnish co-driver Hussi's first start in the WRC - and she can't wait for her home round

Lauri Joona

Last month Janni Hussi took the final step into the world of professional co-driving – she made her debut in the World Rally Championship. Two years ago, she’d never met Lauri Joona, never heard of a timecard. Everything’s changed.

Predictably, Hussi took to the world stage with ease and guided the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 to a top-six WRC2 finish on Rally Sweden. From the outside, she looked every inch the cool, calm, world-class co-driver in Umeå.

Inside the car, how was the step from Finnish Rally Championship to the sport’s very top flight?

“It was big,” she told DirtFish. “Of course it was big. It was way more challenging than I thought. Obviously, the rally was longer [than those I’ve done before], so it took the physical readiness – you know, you have to be in good shape and I was able to do the whole weekend – but, of course, the mental side was longer and harder.

“We were completely focused 100% when we were in the rally and then in the evening we were working on the onboards. But after that it was good to have something else so that I could switch off a little bit. It took my mind off the rally and that was good for me.

“It’s still incredible to think that I’m here doing it. I was doing this job, working on the radio, I had a nice clean job inside the studio and all of a sudden everything has changed. What happened?

“That’s the thing: I feel life is so short, you just have to do what feels good and go at it at, like 100%. I don’t care what anybody says – there have been so many people saying: ‘You can’t do that; you know you won’t be able to do it; you’re not good enough…’

“Blah, blah, blah. I’m like, come on! If I listened to those people, I would never get off the couch. Life is short, so get on with it.”

And Hussi really is getting on with it. Her program of WRC2 events this season will include the home round for her and Joona: Rally Finland. That’s the big one.

“That’s going to be huge, I can’t lie,” she smiled. “There will be some pressure, but I will also be really excited for it. I will have to take things down a little bit, so it doesn’t go over the top. For anybody in the world Rally Finland is huge, but for a Finn in Finland, it’s even bigger.

“We will have a good support there. I will have friends and family coming to see the event. And it’s so nice to see that my friends, people who haven’t been in rallying before, they are taking their kids with them to the events, and now there is new fans coming to see rally. It will be a lot of fun.”

No doubt.