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Saukkolan EK and RPF

Posted by alosix 
alosix
Jason Powers
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Saukkolan EK and RPF
September 09, 2017 08:43PM
We somewhat accidentally stumbled into a bit of Finnish rally culture that I didn't even realize existed last week.

Background:
In January we booked a trip to Finland. Mostly because we hadn't been there before, flights weren't horrible ($650 each/rt) and we found a pretty cheap cottage to stay at on the water.

So like the trip earlier in the year to Washington I go hunting for driving things to do. Found Rally Promotion Finland that gives classes and rents rally cars. Conversed over email quite a bit with Jarkko, wired some cash to Finland, and mostly hoped I hadn't just fallen for the most northern nigerian scam in existence.

We were given this address to meet at in the morning:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Saukkolan+EK+Oy/@60.7735171,24.3624491,14z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x468e7aa62a121a3b:0xff30feffb5686bd6!2sSaukkolantie+160,+14300+H%C3%A4meenlinna,+Finland!3b1!8m2!3d60.7848721!4d24.3549619!3m4!1s0x0:0x692a16a181a59c60!8m2!3d60.7736052!4d24.3624723


What we didn't realize until the day after is that we were at the place



Where Mika Hakkinen tries to teach James May how to drive on dirt.

Saukkolan, as best was explained to me is a year round open rally training and testing area. There are a few of these in Finland, but this is the southern most one, and the only one that's generally always open. I'm not quite sure how it gets paid for as I didn't ask, and I think it was baked into the fee paid.

You walk in and you're greeted by water, juice, a selection of home baked pastries and coffee.


The walls are covered in pictures of rally cars.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/jhH2nMkIcQXBxKXj2

Right on time this rolls up:


This stuff pops out of the truck:




06 Sti, R4 out of the Makinen shop, on Reigers. Tell me a few years ago that I'd see one of these in person, yet get to drive one in the woods in Finland and I doubt I would have believed you.

A bit of classroom time, then out to the easy safe track to get used to the car, and to let Jarkko figure out if you're safe to head out into the woods.

Then you're out on something that looks like a proper Finnish stage, with a Fin in your ear saying things like 'flat over crest' and working to get you tight enough on a hay bail in a corner that you manage to smack the mirror on the bale, but none of the rest of the car.

Hopefully I can add some more details later. It was a hell of a day, Jarkko was a very patient teacher for both me and my wife (who drives a lot of dirt and snow, but was hitting the yumps in the woods at over 85mph by the end of the day and making the R3 corner at the end).

The driving style taught was very clean, damn near the same goals as track racing, though with different inputs to get the car to do those things. Much cleaner than what we were exposed to earlier in the year at dirt fish (granted we didn't have time for a whole day there, so that class might have been more geared to smiles than speed).

The car was something else as well. I can't believe how smooth the EJ207's power delivery was.



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Mad Matt F
Matt Follett
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Re: Saukkolan EK and RPF
September 10, 2017 07:52PM
Well... if no one else is gonna reply...

Holy crap that sounds fun!

Envy... winking smiley
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biggreen96
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Re: Saukkolan EK and RPF
September 11, 2017 01:33AM
That is awesome! Now to convince the fiance...



Brap Brap.
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john vanlandingham
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Re: Saukkolan EK and RPF
September 11, 2017 09:32AM
Nice..except no costs.. and of course nothing to compare them to--price wise-to-benefit.

And how about more details about course length, content, who drove. How long, articulte! Elucidate!
Expand!

What about the engine comments? How smooth---compared to what?



John Vanlandingham
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Robert Culbertson
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Re: Saukkolan EK and RPF
September 11, 2017 11:04AM
alosix
Jason Powers
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Location: Lyons, CO
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Re: Saukkolan EK and RPF
September 11, 2017 11:10AM
Quote
john vanlandingham
Nice..except no costs.. and of course nothing to compare them to--price wise-to-benefit.

This was not a cheap experience by any means. a little over 4k for the 2 of us (my wife and I). Is that sort of thing worth it? For us it was, partially for the sheer enjoyment of the day, but I also feel like I learned a few things I can put into my next event.

It also helped me know how a 'properly' built subaru feels in comparison to my own. It'll be a bit until I stop lusting after the brake setup that car was running. Very predictable under hard braking and the rear would step out in a very controlled manner if you asked it to.
Quote


And how about more details about course length, content, who drove. How long, articulte! Elucidate!
Expand!
Length was a day for this, about 100km of driving. Content was very driver specific. For me it was go out, drive a bit and then we worked on a few things to make me better. Mostly braking points, getting on the throttle sooner, etc. More personal 1:1 versus a 'class'.

2 different driving areas were used. The first was a 'safe' area with a mix of fast and slow corners, and a lack of trees. We went out there to get a feel for the car and probably to ensure we weren't complete morons.

After that we were onto the shorter of the 2 that I saw "test stages" in the area. Fairly sure about a minute or two to run. Good mix of corners with high and low speed sections, and 2 proper yumps that would get the car off the ground (same straight that's in the james may clip)


Quote

What about the engine comments? How smooth---compared to what?

Smooth compared to my 2 frames of reference.
1.) My 32mm restricted EJ205 car. It needs a tune, but at this point its pretty dead in lower RPMs with a fairly abrupt ramp up when it finally gets into boost. This is likely as much of a tuning issue as it is a gearing issue with the 5spd still in the car.

2.) The DirtFish 08+ STis. Unrestricted cars (and .5 ltr more) with a good bit more power. Those cars have such an abundance of torque that you have to be very mindful of the throttle inputs to keep wheel spin under control. No doubt once mastered one could be quite quick with these, but for me they were a bit steeper of a learning curve.

This car (the R4) to me.. I found the way it delivered power to be confidence inspiring and very easy to modulate.
By the end of the day I'd gotten to the point where I could feel the outside rear tire's "traction" on the longer more slippery corners and keep it in check with the throttle.


So is this sort of thing better than what we do in the states or for everyone? I don't think I've done enough of the longer trainings in the states to really comment accurately.

For us this was just as much of a cool thing to do on vacation as it was some driver training. We managed some pretty cheap flights and accommodations for the trip, so this was a bit of a splurge if you will.

Though, if you were a driver here in the US that's run out of ideas of how to get faster I'd recommend giving them a call.



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alosix
Jason Powers
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Location: Lyons, CO
Join Date: 08/02/2011
Age: Midlife Crisis
Posts: 323

Rally Car:
02 WRX, still to quiet, but it finished a rally


Re: Saukkolan EK and RPF
September 11, 2017 11:33AM
Also out testing while we were there:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/xKgCMwyEzBiEqT0A2

Group F E36 with M3 bits testing for the Finnish National Championship (which was 8th and 9th)

He gets moving about 20 seconds in, makes very happy noises.



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john vanlandingham
John Vanlandingham
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Saab 96 V4



Re: Saukkolan EK and RPF
September 11, 2017 11:17PM
Quote
alosix
Quote
john vanlandingham
Nice..except no costs.. and of course nothing to compare them to--price wise-to-benefit.

This was not a cheap experience by any means. a little over 4k for the 2 of us (my wife and I). Is that sort of thing worth it? For us it was, partially for the sheer enjoyment of the day, but I also feel like I learned a few things I can put into my next event.

It also helped me know how a 'properly' built subaru feels in comparison to my own. It'll be a bit until I stop lusting after the brake setup that car was running. Very predictable under hard braking and the rear would step out in a very controlled manner if you asked it to.
Quote


And how about more details about course length, content, who drove. How long, articulte! Elucidate!
Expand!
Length was a day for this, about 100km of driving. Content was very driver specific. For me it was go out, drive a bit and then we worked on a few things to make me better. Mostly braking points, getting on the throttle sooner, etc. More personal 1:1 versus a 'class'.

2 different driving areas were used. The first was a 'safe' area with a mix of fast and slow corners, and a lack of trees. We went out there to get a feel for the car and probably to ensure we weren't complete morons.

After that we were onto the shorter of the 2 that I saw "test stages" in the area. Fairly sure about a minute or two to run. Good mix of corners with high and low speed sections, and 2 proper yumps that would get the car off the ground (same straight that's in the james may clip)


Quote

What about the engine comments? How smooth---compared to what?

Smooth compared to my 2 frames of reference.
1.) My 32mm restricted EJ205 car. It needs a tune, but at this point its pretty dead in lower RPMs with a fairly abrupt ramp up when it finally gets into boost. This is likely as much of a tuning issue as it is a gearing issue with the 5spd still in the car.

2.) The DirtFish 08+ STis. Unrestricted cars (and .5 ltr more) with a good bit more power. Those cars have such an abundance of torque that you have to be very mindful of the throttle inputs to keep wheel spin under control. No doubt once mastered one could be quite quick with these, but for me they were a bit steeper of a learning curve.

This car (the R4) to me.. I found the way it delivered power to be confidence inspiring and very easy to modulate.
By the end of the day I'd gotten to the point where I could feel the outside rear tire's "traction" on the longer more slippery corners and keep it in check with the throttle.


So is this sort of thing better than what we do in the states or for everyone? I don't think I've done enough of the longer trainings in the states to really comment accurately.

For us this was just as much of a cool thing to do on vacation as it was some driver training. We managed some pretty cheap flights and accommodations for the trip, so this was a bit of a splurge if you will.

Though, if you were a driver here in the US that's run out of ideas of how to get faster I'd recommend giving them a call.


Great write up..Really..thanks..I wll point people in this direction..



John Vanlandingham
Sleezattle, WA, USA

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

www.rallyrace.net/jvab
CALL +1 206 431-9696
Remember! Pacific Standard Time
is 3 hours behind Eastern Standard Time.
Please Login or Register to post a reply
alosix
Jason Powers
Mega Moderator
Location: Lyons, CO
Join Date: 08/02/2011
Age: Midlife Crisis
Posts: 323

Rally Car:
02 WRX, still to quiet, but it finished a rally


Re: Saukkolan EK and RPF
September 12, 2017 09:01AM
2 things that I did pickup that I found interesting compared to how I've been driving.

To 'open up' a corner when you are too tight, he wanted me to use the gas instead of the steering inputs to roughly force the car to push/understeer on the way out of a corner. It took me most of the day to get that straight. When driving at a hay bale, the last thing on my mind was pushing the gas down harder. It worked well though, reasoning appeared to be that using the throttle in that manner upset the car less than trying to steer around it.

To add another entry into the LFB debate here. Using it through a corner to tighten up a car instead of lifting was beneficial on an electronic center diff car because lifting will (at least the stock programming) open the diff up, upsetting the car more than applying brake pressure to get it to turn.

There was definitely a theme of doing things in a manner that kept the car from becoming 'upset'.


The testing area also had what looked liked every finnish motorsports magazine ever produced lying around to read, as well as the spectator guides from WRC finland. They grabbed some maps out of one of them so the next day we could go reccee Päijälä and Ouninpohja. Those road were cool. The yellow house jump is no joke. If I can figure a way to hire a car out there in the next few years to drive them in anger.. I'm going to work that out (probably something cheap, old and 2wd,, but WTH).



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