To Jussi Luhtaniemi, Jussie Rally driver, Santa Claus brought a gift before Christmas Eve: Luhtaniemi drives Ralli SM as the driver of the Ford Motorcraft Rally Team 2018.
The first contact with Ford Motorcraft Rally Team and its equipment 20-year-old Jani Luhtaniemi received the 2017 finals of the SM World Championship in Lempäälä.
For the first time, Luhtaniemi, who commissioned the Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost R2T car in the race, was very pleased with both team and car:
– Just a great experience, I have been really pleased. The guys do a great job and keep the car in good shape.
The SM-final result was the best result of the season and team leader Arto Kumpumäen convinced driving performance:
– Luhtaniemi was very good at the end of the season, and it was also visible at EC time. After these screens and discussions, we decided to attach Jan’s team as the second driver for 2018, “says Kumpumäki.
Juha-Pekka Jauhiainen is next to Luhtaniemi’s music notes, with a joint experience in ice-cream shops for three years now. Niko Mäkinen continues as the second driver of the team.
The Rally SM season begins traditionally at the Arctic Lapland Rally at the end of January. Luhtaniemi and Jauhiainen are opening their race before, at the beginning of January:
– Just after the turn of the year, we go north to test. Trying to run as many test kilometers as possible before the start of the SM season, because I have never driven the turbot in the winter. The test run will also take part in the epiphytic Piippola rally.
Jani Luhtaniemi, who started his second season in the SM3 class, has set the Finnish Championship as his goal. In addition, the goal is to succeed in the Future Star, which is the main prize for the winner to participate in the Finnish World Championships.
– Finland’s championship in the eyes will start the season. In addition, the aim is to win the Star of the Future, which is certainly not easy because 20 other drivers are competing for the same prize.
In the Rally SM series, 2018 runs seven races: 3 in winter and 4 in the summer. The season begins on the last weekend of January in Rovaniemi and ends at the end of September at the finals competition in Turku. For more information on the series: www.rallism.fi.