Hakkinen to compete in Arctic Rally

Former F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen will enter next month's 2003 Arctic Lapland Rally in northern Finland driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution WRC2

Hakkinen to compete in Arctic Rally

It will be Hakkinen's first rally after 11 years in Formula 1. Testing will take place from December 17 to 19, in Finland, while the event itself takes place on January 24-25.

"Finland is not only my home country, but also the home of rallying," said two-time world champ Hakkinen. "I'm deeply impressed by my fellow Finns' and their colleagues' performances in WRC. Their mastering of all kind of road conditions at amazing speeds, including ice or snow, is really fascinating.

"I always wanted to give it a try and I'm sure the comparison between two top disciplines as WRC and Formula One will prove interesting for the spectators as well," he added. "I want to make clear though that this is not to start a second motor sports career for me."

Hakkinen will be co-driven by Arto Kapanen, who reads the notes for Jani Paasonen.

Featuring 15 special stages with deep snow, little daylight and at temperatures of below - 20º C, the Arctic Lapland Rally will be the opening round of the 2003 FIA European Rally Championship. It will start and end in Rovaniemi, at the Arctic Circle.

Sven Quandt, new head of motor sports activities for Mitsubishi Motors in Europe, said: "We are very proud that Mika asked us to prepare a Lancer Evolution WRC2 for his rallying debut. Even though this will be strictly a private entry, it will be of high significance for us and for the world of rallying. It also shows that you can cross boundaries for the sake of the sport."

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