Desire for World Class Rallying
The foundations of Neste Rally Finland were laid in the summer of 1951, after a competition called the Hanko Run in the seaside resort Hanko, southern Finland.
The regulations of Hanko Run did not always find favour with the competitors. They differed notably from those of Rallye Monte Carlo. The competitors were complaining that the basis for selection of Monte Carlo entries was not valid, as no Monte-type competition existed in the country.
They decided at the proposal of Pentti Barck to organise an annual competition in Jyväskylä, which to quite some extent - including its regulations - would be a copy of Monte. The first rally would be held that same year in September. The decision was made in July.
A total of 26 competitors started the rally, 3 of which retired. The route took the participants all the way up to the Arctic Circle and back. The first special stage was a 1400-metre hillclimb in Puijo, Kuopio and the other one was an acceleration and braking test in Harju, Jyväskylä. The declared winners of the first rally were Arvo Carlsson - Vilho Mattila. The seeds had been sewn for a Finnish legend.