Kemijärvi News: Arctic Lapland Rally culminates in Kemijärvi with a new stage open to public
Arctic Lapland Rally brings the rally circus to the city centre of Kemijärvi in February.
Finland is a motorsport nation, and even the world's best-known Finns are motorsport drivers, such as Kimi Räikkönen.
Alongside Formula racing, rallying has traditionally been a sport where a lot of Finns succeed. The latest Finnish star is young Kalle Rovanperä, who won his second consecutive World Rally Championship title in 2023.
Rallying happens throughout the year here in the North. The 2024 Finnish Rally Championship calendar will once again include the Arctic Lapland Rally, the so-called Fell Rally, that brings competitors to Rovaniemi and Kemijärvi. The 59th Arctic Rally will be held on 2–3 February.
The competition is known for its Lapland scenery and demanding northern conditions. Kemijärvi will once again be the culmination of the rally, this time also including new special stages.
On Friday, the race will be held in Rovaniemi, from where the race will move onto the traditional Sarrio special stage in Kemijärvi on Saturday. Sarrio is also exceptional in that it will be driven partly at the Finnish Defence Forces' Rovajärvi training area. Sarrio will be followed by a new special stage in Patovaara. From Patovaara the rally continues to the city centre where there is a new special stage open to the public. After a long time, the public special stage returns to the heart of the city.
“It will be a real event”
The special stage follows the shoreline of Lake Pöyliöjärvi past Puustelli to the finish line at the Cultural Centre. There will be a public area near the finish line and interviews with drivers will also take place in the finish area.
– It will be a real event, says Timo Tuominen, chairman of Kemijärven Yrittäjät business association, who coordinates the volunteers' activities in Kemijärvi.
Tuominen, a well-known rally fan, says that this time there will also be a service area and a garage near the Kuumaniemi Market Square in the city centre, so the rally circus will be visible in the city all day on Saturday.
Tuominen says that the intention is to arrange an opportunity to visit the service area, as well as accompanying programme.
After the spectacle in the city centre, the rally will end with the second Sarrio special stage, after which the champion of the Arctic conditions will be announced.
This winter, the Arctic Lapland Rally will take place between the World Championship races in Monte Carlo and Sweden, so drivers from the top teams may arrive to the rally to get a feel for the winter conditions.
The schedules and special stages of the Fell Rally can be found online at www.arcticrally.fi.
This article has been published in Kemijärvi News travel magazine in november 2023.