Pentti Airikkala

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Pentti Airikkala
Personal information
Nationality Finland Finnish
Born (1945-09-04)September 4, 1945
Died September 30, 2009(2009-09-30) (aged 64)
World Rally Championship record
Active years 1973–90, 2003
Teams Privateer, Vauxhall, Rothmans Ford, Mitsubishi Ralliart, Martini Lancia, Nissan, Q8 Team Ford
Rallies 37
Championships 0
Rally wins 1
Podiums 6
Stage wins 147
Total points 102
First rally 1973 1000 Lakes Rally
First win 1989 Lombard RAC Rally
Last rally 2003 Wales Rally GB

Pentti Airikkala (September 4, 1945 – September 30, 2009) was one of the "Flying Finns" who dominated world rallying in the past four decades.[1] His career was more sporadic than many of his contemporaries, and he competed in only three World Rally Championship (WRC) events regularly; the two Scandinavian rallies (the 1000 Lakes and the Swedish Rally) and the RAC Rally in the United Kingdom.

Airikkala was born in Helsinki, Finland.[2] Most of his top flight competitive experience was behind the wheel of various rear wheel drive Vauxhall/Opels like the Chevette HS and Magnum coupé, but his greatest success came in the twilight of his career, when he exploited his local knowledge as a longtime UK resident to win the 1989 RAC Rally in a Group A Mitsubishi Galant VR-4.[3] He is still the third oldest driver to win a WRC event.

Altogether he competed in 36 WRC events between 1973 and 1990, and a 37th in 2003, scoring 102 points and achieving a best of 9th overall in the 1981 Drivers' Championship.[4] He also contested the British Rally Championship in the 1970s/80s, becoming British Rally Champion in 1979. Since retiring from full-time international competition he operated a highly successful race driving school in Oxfordshire, where his roster of pupils included subsequent World Champions Colin McRae and Richard Burns.[5]

Death[edit]

Airikkala died at Bray, Berkshire, UK, aged 64. He had been battling illness in recent years and was admitted to hospital shortly before his death after suffering liver problems and a fall.[6]

WRC victories[edit]

 #  Event Season Co-driver Car
1 United Kingdom 38th Lombard RAC Rally 1989 Ronan McNamee Mitsubishi Galant VR-4

Complete WRC results[edit]

[2]

Year Team/Entrant Car WRC Round WDC Points
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
1973 Opel Finland Opel Kadett MON SWE POR KEN MAR GRE PLD FIN
RET
AUT ITA USA GBR FRA N/A N/A
1974 Dealer Team Vauxhall Vauxhall Magnum Coupé POR KEN FIN
16
ITA CAN USA N/A N/A
Center Hotels/
Clarke & Simpson
Ford Escort RS1600 GBR
RET
FRA
1975 Dealer Team Vauxhall Vauxhall Magnum Coupé MON SWE KEN GRE MAR POR FIN
RET
ITA GBR
20
FRA N/A N/A
1976 Privateer Ford Escort RS1600 MON SWE POR KEN GRE MAR FIN
2
ITA FRA N/A N/A
Team Avon Tyres GBR
RET
1977 Toyota Team Europe Toyota Celica MON FIN SWE
RET
POR KEN NZL GRE ITA SA PLD 0*
Dealer Team Vauxhall Vauxhall Chevette 2300 HSR FIN
RET
ITA CAN FRA ITA AUS ESP FRA GBR
16
CIV
1978 Dealer Team Vauxhall Vauxhall Chevette 2300 HSR MON FIN SWE
RET
KEN POR GRE SCO
2
PLD FIN
3
NZL CAN FRA ITA ITA AUS ESP CIV FRA GBR
RET
10th 10*
1979 Dealer Team Vauxhall Vauxhall Chevette 2300 HSR MON SWE
3
POR KEN GRE NZL
RET
FIN
RET
CAN ITA FRA GBR
7
CIV 15th 16
1980 Dealer Team Vauxhall Vauxhall Chevette 2300 HSR MON SWE
6
POR KEN GRE ARG FIN
RET
GBR
RET
CIV 36th 6
Masport Ford Escort RS2000 NZL
RET
ITA FRA
1981 Rothman's Rally Team Ford Escort RS1800 MON SWE
3
POR KEN FRA GRE ARG BRA FIN
5
ITA CIV GBR
4
9th 30
1982 Team Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Turbo MON SWE POR KEN FRA GRE NZL BRA FIN
3
ITA CIV GBR
RET
15th 12
1983 Martini Racing Lancia Rallye 037 MON SWE POR KEN FRA GRE NZL FIN
5
ITA CIV GBR 21st 8
1984 Team Nissan Europe Nissan 240RS MON SWE POR KEN FRA GRE NZL ARG FIN
RET
ITA CIV GBR 0
1985 British Telecom Mobile Phone Vauxhall Astra GTE MON SWE POR KEN FRA GRE NZL ARG FIN ITA CIV GBR
RET
0
1986 British Telecom Mobile Phone Vauxhall Astra GTE MON SWE POR KEN FRA GRE NZL ARG FIN CIV ITA GBR
16
USA 0
1987 GM Dealersport Opel Kadett GSi MON SWE POR KEN FRA GRE USA NZL ARG FIN CIV ITA GBR
RET
0
1988 Safety Devices Lancia Delta Integrale MON SWE POR KEN FRA GRE USA NZL ARG FIN CIV ITA GBR
4
30th 10
1989 Mitsubishi Ralliart Europe Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 SWE MON POR KEN FRA GRE NZL ARG FIN AUS CIV ITA GBR
1
14th 20
1990 Q8 Team Ford Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4×4 MON POR KEN FRA GRE NZL ARG FIN
RET
AUS ITA
11
CIV GBR
RET
0
2003 Fairfield Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI MON SWE TUR NZL ARG GRE CYP GER FIN AUS ITA FRA GBR
RET
0

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pentti Airikkala, 'Flying Finns' website
  2. ^ a b Hope-Frost, Henry; Davenport, John (2004). The Complete Book of the World Rally Championship. Saint Paul, Minnesota: MotorBooks International. p. 62. ISBN 0-7603-1954-5. 
  3. ^ 38th Lombard RAC Rally, Final classification, Rallybase.nl website
  4. ^ 1981 World Rally Championship for Drivers, Final classification, Rallybase.nl
  5. ^ Pentti's Champion Pupils, leftfootbraking.com
  6. ^ "Rally star Airikkala dies". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 

External links[edit]