By Markku Alen
“For me as a young man, before I even began rallying, I was inspired by the top three ‘Flying Finns’ — Hannu Mikkola, Timo Makinen and Pauli Toivonen.
I remember as a 16-year-old going to spectate at the 1000 Lakes in 1967, and then again over the next two years. Going out at night to watch them is what made me want to become a rally driver. They got the Escorts completely sideways, and it was like a totally new driving style — very exciting. As soon as I got my driving licence I wanted to be like them, and when I was 18 I won the 1969 Finnish junior title. A year later I was in the same events as they were, and was pretty awestruck by the whole thing!”