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Jarkko Jylhä wins Finnish drift championship!

The Finnish drifting championship series, which included four races this season, got its worthy decision at Alahärmä PowerPark over the weekend. The final race of the 2023 season, Venice Drifting, which was run at the Mika Salo Circuit, which is also familiar from the Finnish DMEC competition, gathered no less than 90 competitors in Härmää. It was the largest competition in the history of Finnish drifting in terms of number of competitors. 

Loudlife-media / AKK photo

The competition weekend in Alahärmä started on Friday in really rainy conditions with the sorting of the competition. In the SM Pro class, you didn’t get to enjoy the rubber smoke or the rush of speed in the challenging conditions, but in total, 26 of the 32 drivers collected points from the classifications and made their way to Saturday’s Top32 chart. 

Even somewhat surprisingly, the first place in the sorting was the “Mayor of Himanga” Toni Ojatalo, who scored 85 points on his first bet. Ojatalo, who also did well in the DMEC competition in July, showed that his experience on the track was an asset. This theory is strengthened by the fact that each of the top five of the classifications was involved in the aforementioned competition.

Juhat  Rintanen and Pöytälaakso scored 83 points, Ville Kaukonen scored 79, and Jarkko Jylhä, ranked fifth, scored 75. 

Saturday’s chart was run in significantly more favourable conditions, with the sun shining on the drifting crowd that arrived at PowerPark. The diagram, which stretched into the long Saturday evening, was run in the dark towards the end, which brought its own challenges to the competitors. In the end, the wet weather was not avoided on Saturday either because the rain, which was heavy in some places, completely soaked the track when the finals started. 

The Finnish championship was already decided after the TOP32 stage because the worst competitors of Jarkko Jylhä, who came to Alahärmä as the number one in the series, were already eliminated from the continuation at the beginning of the chart. Jylhä always cleared his way to third place in the competition, and thus the Puuppola native, who only drove in his second full season in the SM series, took last year’s bronze medal as a follow-up to the brightest one, the Finnish championship. 

After two race wins, one second and a third place in Alahärmä, Jylhä’s championship came out overwhelmingly. No less than 136 points were accumulated in the second place Niklas Wiki

– The championship was set as a goal before the season, and now that it has been achieved, it feels good. The car worked well this season, and with a strong team and supporters behind it, you can win this series with Jylhä opened. 

– Of course, we have had to do a lot of work, drive simulators and train with a real car. The whole summer has been spent working on these things and day jobs. In my opinion, hard work and hard work are the key things that make winning the series possible, summed up Jylhä. 

The silver medal was therefore won by Wik, who had to wait for the colour of his medal for a long time when his fate was to drop already in the first stage of the diagram. Kim Koski got close, but a drop in the TOP16 stage was enough for a bronze medal. Koski nevertheless made a great climb by improving his series ranking from fifth place all the way to bronze, and in the end, the difference between silver and silver was only four points. 

Henri Haanpää, who is focusing on the DMEC series this season, won the competition, defeating Juha Pöytälaakso in the final. Jylhä didn’t have to fight for third place because Juha Rintanen, who finished fourth, had to stop with a broken clutch before the bronze final. 

Kuusinen is the Finnish champion of the SM Pro2 class

Loudlife-media / AKK photo

Such a long rain front did not hit the classifications of the Pro2 class as those of the Pro class, but dry conditions could not be spoken of in this case either. Specialist Jetro Airaksinen took first place in the classifications, who already won his second classification victory of the season with 80 points. Henri Rajala was one point behind Airaksi. Alvari Mäkinen was third with 76 points. 

The championship of the Pro2 class was already decided in the TOP32 phase of Saturday’s diagram, when the strongest competitors of Eetu Kuusinen, who started the race with the first point, immediately fell from the diagram in a handshake.

Kuusinen himself was eliminated in the very next stage, but the native of Lauka still got to celebrate the Finnish championship of the SM Pro class, which was shared for the first time in history. Kuusinen accumulated a total of 274 points from the four races of the season, including two race wins. 

– I can’t even figure it out yet when I already dropped out of the competition. But yes, you can still be happy here when that last bet was so great, Kuusinen felt.  

– No bigger goals were set for the season. However, when Pesämäki’s first competition was successful, that’s when they started setting the championship as a goal. In reality, the car only started to fit in the hand in the previous race, when there was still so little driving experience, Kuusinen revealed. 

The silver medal in the class was taken by Alvaro Mäkinen, who managed to finish second despite his early fall. Mäkinen collected 237 points during the season. 

Tommi Rajala, who won the final round of Alahärmä, took third place and, in the final standings, tied with Otto Björkskog with 233 points. However, the bronze medal will go Rajala’s way because, with the victory in the Alahärmä competition, he has more first places than Björkskog, who was narrowly behind Rajala in second place this weekend. The third place in PowerPark was taken by the sorting winner Airaksinen.

Results: Drift SM – Alahärmä

SM PRO – qualification
1. Toni Ojatalo 85 points
2. Juha Pöytälaakso 83 points 
3. Juha Rintanen 83 points

SM PRO2 – qualification
1. Jetro Airaksinen 80 points
2. Henri Rajala 79 points
3. Alvari Mäkinen 76 points

SM PRO – race results
1. Henri Haanpää
2. Juha Pöytälaakso
3. Jarkko Jylhä

SM PRO2 – race results
1. Tommi Rajala
2. Otto Björkskog 
3. Jetro Airaksinen 

Final standings

Drift SM
Loudlife-media / AKK photo

1. Jarkko Jylhä 338 points
2. Niklas Wik 202 points
3. Kim Koski 195 points

1. Eetu Kuusinen 274 points
2. Alvari Mäkinen 237 points
3. Tommi Rajala 233 points

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