How to "Do Rally"

We are often asked what would be the best place to see the whole rally well. Well, nowhere, as a rally competition isn’t really just one event. Based on the way you count, Neste Rally Finland consists of approximately 27 large-scale summer events – all located in Central Finland and taking place under four consecutive days from Thursday to Sunday 1 - 4 August. Being a rally spectator takes some planning, but all in all it’s not that difficult

Planning

The best tool in planning your rally trip is the Official Programme published in July. In it, you will find all the necessary facts.  

It’s also a good idea to take a look at all the different ticket options and buy the one that best suits your needs. With a Rally Pass you can access all the public events, and the other extreme are single tickets to each special stage / event sold “at the door”, if you feel that you don’t need a Rally Pass. There are also other options available between these two. Kids under the age of 12 can enjoy Neste Rally Finland free of charge when accompanied by an adult, and kids over 12 have their own “Rookie Pass”. More info on the different tickets can be found in the Official Programme and on-line.

Where and when? 

The Official Programme comes with a large map of the rally route. In addition to that, the programme contains info of each special stage with detailed info of the spectator areas, services and parking. When planning you rally trip, it’s also useful to check out the schedule. In the Official Programme you can find day-specific spreads, on which you can easily see all the “what, where and when” for that day at a glance. You can mix traditional rallying in the forest with events in the city, action in the service park… Whatever interests YOU most! 

How?

A couple of special stages can be accessed by bus, but for the most part you should have a car or a motorbike. This is what you should do: browse the Official Programme to find the spread with the info on your desired stage. Based on the stage description, location, services etc. you can first determine which spectator area you would like to go to. That in turn determines which parking area you should head for. From the same spread in the programme, you can find the “organiser’s pacenotes” for reaching that specific parking area. There are even coordinates for the parking areas, but you should keep your wits about you, as GPS’s and mapping software won’t tell you about the special traffic arrangements, closed roads etc. during the event. Compare the route proposed by your GPS to the route map. You can see the closed roads near special stages on the stage-specific pages of the Official Programme. 

You should reserve much more time for moving from place to place than suggested by your GPS. We’re sure the device has not taken into account the fact that there are suddenly hundreds of cars travelling at the same time on the small roads “in the middle of nowhere”. 

Traffic and Parking

Overall, you should make your way out to the special stages with plenty of extra time reserved for the drive, as traffic might get congested near the stages. Also, if you are heading for roadside parking, you can’t know in advance whether you will get “pole position” right next to the stage or possibly a space a few kilometres away when 400 other cars have arrived there before you. The earlier you get there the closer you can park. However, there are also plenty of spectator areas with parking on a field, in which case walking distance to the special stage is more predictable. 

Parking costs extra and it’s cash only, so please make sure to have cash on you. Parking is organised by different (sports) clubs and societies, who that way raise money for their own activities – so it’s all for a good cause. The parking fee recommended by rally organisers is 5 euros per vehicle, and you will get a smile, guaranteed, if you have the exact change. 

Rally Radio

Before you head out to the stages, make sure to tune your car radio onto the YLE Jyväskylä channel, i.e. the official Rally Radio, for all the background info you could possibly need and live broadcast from the stages etc. The radio is also a source of vital information if something comes up that disrupts the planned schedule of events, e.g. if rain has made a field so soggy that parking there is impossible, you’ll hear about it first and instantly on the Rally Radio. 

Let’s eat!

At some point during the day, you have to have some food too. The clever instructions in the Official Programme show you the services that can be found in each spectator area at a glance. So you can plan to have that must-have rally sausage (rallimakkara) or something else savoury or sweet out in the forest. Using these services will also make you feel good about your contribution, as the service providers are local village or parents’ associations, sports clubs, 4-H, women’s – or men’s – clubs etc. and all the profits will go in full to support their activities. 

How many stages?

A daily schedule of two special stages in the morning, a quick visit to the Paviljonki service park in Jyväskylä and another two stages in the afternoon is doable, although it requires some pretty snappy action from your part.

If you don’t want to be constantly rushing from place to place, but instead like to enjoy the great outdoors, you can choose just one stage that is driven twice (most of them are) and stay put. Great atmosphere is guaranteed. The WRC contestants will be whizzing past first, followed by an extra drivers, national F Cup (Vetomies) competitors – and it won’t be long before the WRC entrants come ‘round for the second run. Then you can check out the service action at the Jyväskylä Paviljonki end of day service, which will be more relaxed with less traffic and parking headaches. 

Rally essentials:

  • The Official Programme
  • Portable radio for listening to Rally Radio out on the stages
  • A smart phone 
  • Something to drink – water is the best thirst quencher, and if the weather is hot you consume surprisingly lot. Keep yourself refreshed by drinking enough water! There are canteens on the special stages where you can refill your water supply.
  • A fold-up camp stool – because it’s just good to have and is often forgotten.
  • Rain gear / poncho – because if you bring one, it never rains.

N.B. It really is worth your while to go to the places described in the Official Programme. Using your own initiative can often lead to situations where you end up stuck in the middle of 3-metre-high young trees growing close together and not seeing a thing. The spectator areas specified in the Official Programme are the “happening places” where there is action, atmosphere, services and cleared-out views onto the stage. On top of all that, they are also placed – by professionals – into such spots where it is safe to watch the rally cars fly by. 

N.B. There are bins for your rubbish spread around all the event areas – please use them. Also, please be extra careful not to leave any cans or bottles in the nature! They are extremely dangerous and painful for the animals, as they can easily get mixed into the animal’s feed from the fields, and thus cause farm animal deaths every year.