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Hannu Olavi Mikkola (24 May 1942 − 25 February 2021) was a Finnish champion world rally driver. He was a seven-time winner of the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland and won the RAC Rally in Great Britain four times.
|Full name||Hannu Olavi Mikkola|
|Born||24 May 1942|
|Died||25 February 2021 (aged 78)|
|World Rally Championship record|
|Co-driver|| Arne Hertz|
|Teams||Ford, Toyota, Audi, Mazda, Subaru|
|First rally||1973 Monte Carlo Rally|
|First win||1974 1000 Lakes Rally|
|Last win||1987 Safari Rally|
|Last rally||1993 1000 Lakes Rally|
Mikkola's rally career spanned 31 years, starting with a Volvo PV544 in 1963, but his most successful period was during the 1970s and 1980s. The 1970s saw Mikkola a frontrunner in many international events, usually in a Ford Escort. He became the first overseas driver to win the East African Safari Rally in 1972, partnered by Gunnar Palm and again in a Ford Escort. In 1979 he made a serious challenge at the World Rally Championship title, ultimately finishing runner-up, only one point behind champion Björn Waldegård.
Mikkola was joined by Swedish co-driver Arne Hertz in 1977 and the pair were very quickly a force to be reckoned with, winning the British Rally Championship in 1978 in an Escort. The Mikkola/Hertz partnership lasted for thirteen years, through to the end of the 1990 season. He was partnered by Johnny Johansson for the 1991 season.
Mikkola was runner-up again in the 1980 season with Ford, but switched to the new Audi factory team for the 1981 season, to drive the revolutionary four wheel drive Audi Quattro. The partnership was successful from the outset: Mikkola led the 1981 Monte Carlo Rally, the Audi's first event, until an accident put him out of the event. He convincingly won the next WRC event, the Swedish Rally, but the Quattro had problems with reliability, and despite another win on the RAC Rally, Mikkola only managed third in the driver's championship. He won the 1000 Lakes and RAC rallies the following year, but did not improve on third position in the championship, ultimately finishing behind Opel's Walter Röhrl and teammate Michèle Mouton.
1983 was to be Mikkola's year. Four wins and three second places saw him and co-driver Arne Hertz finally take the World Championship title. With that, he until this day is the oldest rally world champion. A second place in the championship followed in 1984, behind his teammate Stig Blomqvist, but 1985 saw him compete in only four world rallies, with three retirements and a fourth place, and slip to 22nd in the final standings after the Audi team was overwhelmed by new Group B competition from Peugeot and Lancia. Mikkola remained with Audi until the 1987 season, winning the Safari Rally in a Group A Audi 200 that year, before switching to Mazda.
He remained with Mazda until entering semi-retirement in 1991, although he continued to make sporadic appearances on international rallies until retiring completely from motorsport in 1993. Mikkola has made brief appearances since then, including re-uniting with his co-driver Gunnar Palm for the 25th anniversary run of the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally (Mikkola won the original 1970 event and the 1995 re-run) and competing in the London-Sydney Marathon 2000 Rally, re-united with his 1968 1000 Lakes Rally winning Ford Escort RS1600 and co-driven by his oldest son, Juha Mikkola, founder of Canada Cup (floorball).
In September 2008, Mikkola took part in the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally, a round of the Scottish Rally Championship. He was one of a number of former world champions to take part in the event in memory of McRae, who died in 2007. In 2011, Mikkola was inducted into the Rally Hall of Fame along with Röhrl.
# Event Season Co-driver Car 1 1000 Lakes Rally 1974 John Davenport Ford Escort RS1600 2 Rallye du Maroc 1975 Jean Todt Peugeot 504 3 1000 Lakes Rally 1975 Atso Aho Toyota Corolla 4 RAC Rally 1978 Arne Hertz Ford Escort RS1800 5 Rallye de Portugal Vinho do Porto 1979 Arne Hertz Ford Escort RS1800 6 Rally of New Zealand 1979 Arne Hertz Ford Escort RS1800 7 RAC Rally 1979 Arne Hertz Ford Escort RS1800 8 Rallye Côte d'Ivoire 1979 Arne Hertz Mercedes 450 SLC 5.0 9 Swedish Rally 1981 Arne Hertz Audi Quattro 10 RAC Rally 1981 Arne Hertz Audi Quattro 11 1000 Lakes Rally 1982 Arne Hertz Audi Quattro 12 RAC Rally 1982 Arne Hertz Audi Quattro 13 Swedish Rally 1983 Arne Hertz Audi Quattro A1 14 Rallye de Portugal Vinho do Porto 1983 Arne Hertz Audi Quattro A1 15 Rally Argentina 1983 Arne Hertz Audi Quattro A2 16 1000 Lakes Rally 1983 Arne Hertz Audi Quattro A2 17 Rallye de Portugal Vinho do Porto 1984 Arne Hertz Audi Quattro A2 18 Safari Rally 1987 Arne Hertz Audi 200 Quattro
Complete WRC resultsEdit
This section contains a list of miscellaneous information. (March 2021)
Hannu Mikkola was involved in the only international rally to end in a dead heat. On the 1978 Burmah International, Mikkola and Russell Brookes finished equal on total stage times, but Mikkola won the event by virtue of having been faster than Brookes on the opening stage.
- "Rallimestari Hannu Mikkolan koskettava kuolinilmoitus julkaistiin Helsingin Sanomissa – "Rakkaus on ikuista"" (in Finnish). 2021-03-14. Retrieved 2021-03-14.
- According to World Rally Archive, Mikkola won 654 stages. Mikkola also won special stages in the following rallies that are not yet taken into account by www.juwra.com : 1 stage in Acropolis 1976(source: Sport Auto and Auto Hebdo), 1 stage in Sweden 1977 (source: Sport Auto), 10 stages in Acropolis 1977 (source: Sport Auto).
- "New Inductees to Rally Hall of Fame". Neste Oil Rally Finland. 9 February 2011. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- "Rally legend Hannu Mikkola dies at 78". 27 February 2021.