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A Tribute to Pentti Airkkala

friend and mentor

 

Pentti Airikkala - Pentti Airikkala was born in Finland in 1945. Penti was one of the original 'Flying Finns' and won the RAC & Welsh Rally in 1989.

Airikkala made his home in England at Bray on the banks of the Thames.

Pentti's garden ran down to the Thames were he moored his classic boat and was a familiar sight in the odd boat race or two ! although he lived in England for many years Pentti Airikkala was never anything but a Finn at heart and was immensely proud of his nationality, Pentti would often remind us that

' where there's a Finn there's a shark ! '

Over the years I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with the 'Boss' (Penti Airkikkala) when we (Fairfield Motorsport) were running Jari Matti-Latvala in his 1st year and a lot of time testing with Jari-Matti Latvala and Miko Hirvonen.

Pentti Airkikkala's motorsport career and achievements were vast but his most famous wins were in 1989 when he took victory in a Mitsubishi on the RAC Rally and the International Welsh Rally. 2003 saw Pentti Airikkala final return to the world stages in the Fairfield Motorsport Mitsubishi Evo VI, alongside Nigel Gardner on the Wales Rally GB. The previous year had seen the car driven on the same event by Pentti Airikkala's protégé, the then-17 year old Jari-Matti Latvala. Jari finished 17th overall and 1st Mitsubishi, although Pentti believed he would have seen the car inside the top 10! The drive for Airkikkala was disappointing, his health had started to decline but he pushed as Pentti could and started the rally but unfortunately retired early.

 

Pentti Airikkala

1945-2009

click here for wikipedia account

Flying Finn

Tutor extraordinaire

Pentii Airkikkala died in Bray, Berkshire on the 30th September, 2009 - aged 64 years and having battled illness for some time. Having been mentor and driver coach to Jari-Matti Latvala and Miko Hirvonen in their formative days, Pentti Airikkala leaves a new generation of Flying Finns to represent the most charismatic Finn of them all. Our deepest condolences go to Pentti Airkikkala's wife Susan and children Nico & Nataliine, his grandchildren and family and all the friends who grieve with us of his passing.There are enough memories of Penti Airkikkala to write a which would be very entertaining ! I was fortunate enough to teach at his school and represented his rally school in the Old Metro Challenge days. Pentti Airkikkala was at his best amongst fellow rally enthusiasts he had no side if they loved rallying Pentti had time for them, he never forget his roots and gave everyone time.

 

 

RIP Boss - it was a true

pleasure !

 

John Morgan

Fairfield Motorsport

Tribute to Pentti Airkikkala

Pentti Airikkala - Lombard RAC Rally 1989

 

Pentti Airkikkala's motorsport career and achievements were vast but his most famous wins were in 1989 when he took victory in a Mitsubishi on the RAC Rally and the International Welsh Rally. Pentti was not only a driver, he was a teacher and mentor who could pass on his skills and vast engineering understanding of the

car to others.

 

Escort Day's

 

Vauxhall Chevette

 

    

Pentti Airikkala - was left foot braking

 

Pentti Airkikkala was one of the most talented and clever people I have ever seen when setting a car up. A lot of people thought some of his ideas were crazy but he wouldn't rest until they were tested and he was proved right! He was extremely proud of Jari and the other drivers he worked with over the years. I am very grateful for all he taught me and shared over the years.

Pentti Airkikkala -never to be forgotten, but I can't help thinking of all the

unfinished conversations and ideas !

Pentti Airikkala testing with Jari-Mati Latvala & Miko Hirvonen

Pentti's boys Latvala and Hirvonen are today's Flying Finns works drivers and high up the World Rally Championship with World Championship wins to their credit.

Latvala won in 2010 Rally Finland his and Pentti's WRC home event.

I hope you were watching Boss

Latvals's driving to his 1st overall UK win with many more to follow in the UK, Finland and on the World Championship Stage - when Latvals was just 17 years old, Penti Airkkala said 'this is one of to-morrows youngest World Rally Champions'.

 


   
   
Fairfield Motorsport tribute to Pentti Airkikkala 2009