Rally star Airikkala dies
|Thursday, October 1st 2009, 06:41 GMT|
Former World Rally driver Pentti Airikkala died yesterday following a long illness.
The Finn, 64, contested 36 WRC events between 1973 and 1990 and took his only victory on Rally GB (then the RAC Rally) in 1989. He later made a one-off return to Rally GB in 2003.
Airikkala was also the Finnish Rally champion in 1974 and British Rally champion in 1979.
After his retirement, Airikkala ran a racing and rallying school in Oxfordshire where future WRC champions Colin McRae and Richard Burns, and current factory Ford WRC drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala were among his students.
Airikkala had been battling prostate cancer in recent years and was admitted to hospital shortly before his death after suffering liver problems and a fall.