Hankkiralli

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One of Finland’s two prominent snow rallies—there are many others of course—is the Hankkiralli which is based in the South at Helsinki. In the past foreign entries have been quite rare on Finnish events, because it has long been an established principle of rallying that it is almost impossible to beat Finns in Finland.

Last year that this was no longer the case was made patently obvious when Stig Blomqvist won the Hankkiralli just a week after winning the Swedish Rally and followed it up by winning the Rally of the Thousand Lakes in the summer. It looks as if he might pull off the double again, for as soon as this year’s Swedish Rally was over the Saab team began making preparations for another assault —and once again Blomqvist won, with team-mate Per Eklund second.

A Nordic Championship was created for 1972, being made up of the Hankkiralli, the Norwegian Winter Rally and a summer event in Sweden called Varmland Runt. Alas the Norwegian event was cancelled at the eleventh hour because the local police in the area where the event was to be held objected only days before the start because they had insufficient manpower to cover the event properly. Their objections were quite ludicrous, and they even insisted that there should be a “safety man” on each corner of every special stage. When the organising club offered to supply sufficient marshals to do this, the police turned down the offer because such marshals could not possibly take the place of trained police officers. Our fellow-sportsmen in Norway certainly have problems when it comes to organising rallies in the face of such determined opposition from authorities.

The cancellation eliminates one third of the Nordic Cup series, but it has been decided to retain the other two events as qualifiers, perhaps adding a third if this is agreeable to the tri-national committee which runs it Whatever happens, Stig Blomqvist might just as well start clearing a space on his trophy shelvesl — G. P.