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City superspecial to start Rally Finland

Next year's Rally Finland will start with a city-based superspecial stage - the results of which will decide the all-important running order for the first day proper the following morning.

The Jyvaskyla-based round of the World Rally Championship, which recently signed a five-year agreement with the WRC's promoter ISC, will celebrate its 60th anniversary in July. The main changes for next year's rally centre on switching the traditional Killeri superspecial for a city centre asphalt test. The event last ran an asphalt town centre stage in 1998, around Harju, north of Jyvaskyla.

Rally Finland event manager Tiina Lehmonen said: "Our jubilee concept is an event taking place over three days. It starts off with a city centre special stage on the Thursday and the results from that will determine the running order on Friday.

"Friday and Saturday will comprise a little over 300km of stages with the finish on Saturday evening, immediately followed by festivities including a concert. The Super Special that we've had for the past several years is not in the schedule now."

Rally Finland promoter Jarmo Mahonen added that more wideranging changes to the event were expected for 2011.

"We'll be breaking numerous positive news about our rally and we have a strong belief in the future of both the FIA World Rally Championship and of our own event. Our five-year agreement with the WRC promoter very much helped us to sign a Finnish TV-deal of similar length. MTV3 has gained TV-rights for the series for as long as our contract with ISC runs," said Mahonen.

"Having pocketed these deals it's now so much easier to talk to potential business partners, as all our commercial agreements had been scheduled to terminate at the end of this year. The reason for that being the proposed alternation system in the WRC calendars, which restrained us from entering into contracts or making investments. Last week we signed a new three-year deal with Neste Oil and that enables us to work towards the future. This is the kind of stability I have for years been calling for. All stakeholders are bound to benefit from it in the long term.

"Our big target is already set for 2011, when you'll witness the most far reaching changes this rally has seen in 60 years, but we'll get back to those at an appropriate moment, sometime in the autumn [2010]."

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