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World rally legend ‘Flying Finn’ Hannu Mikkola dies at 78

HELSINKI — Hannu Mikkola, the 1983 rally earth champion and 1 of Finland’s rally greats...

HELSINKI — Hannu Mikkola, the 1983 rally earth champion and 1 of Finland’s rally greats who acquired the nickname the “Flying Finn” and global renown in a driving career spanning much more than thirty several years, has died. He was 78.

Mikkola’s son Vesa Mikkola, a previous rally driver, tweeted Saturday that “we missing my father Hannu to most cancers this weekend. Most understood him as a rallying terrific who ushered in the golden several years of the activity. To me he was father.”

Mikkola began his driving career in Volvo cars and trucks in the early sixties but designed his standing driving a series of Ford Escorts in earth rally functions in the nineteen seventies, which includes a earn in the East African Safari Rally in Kenya in 1972 and a British Rally Championship in 1978.

On his house turf, he received Finland’s 1,000 Lakes Rally on seven events between other achievements.

Mikkola was at the forefront of the four-wheel-drive revolution in earth rallying and claimed the 1983 title in an Audi Quattro, the first for an all-wheel-drive auto in FIA Environment Rally Championship historical past.

He later teamed up with the Mazda group ahead of retiring from professional motor sporting activities in the early nineteen nineties.

Mikkola designed 123 WRC commences — with a whole of eighteen wins — and continued to contend as a guest driver at a assortment of functions until eventually 2017, WRC reported in a statement next his loss of life.

News of Mikkola’s loss of life prompted numerous homages from his previous colleagues and followers around the earth and in Finland, a motor sporting activities powerhouse that has made numerous Components A person and rally champions.

The organizers of the WRC Arctic Rally that took position more than the weekend in Rovaniemi in Finland’s Lapland location, observed a 1-minute’s silence at the podium in tribute to Mikkola.

In addition, the Finnish Air Force’s F-eighteen Hornet fighter jets executed a memorial flyover at the location in honor of 1 of the Nordic country’s most renowned rally motorists.

FIA President Jean Todt, a previous rally driver, attended the function and in a tweet called Mikkola “a famous driver and a lifelong buddy.”


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