'Flying Finn' dies aged 64
1 October 2009

Pentti Airikkala, the former world rally driver, died yesterday aged 64.

Throughout a long career spanning 1973 to 1990 the Finn contested 36 WRC events, taking his only victory on the RAC Rally in 1989.

See high-res gallery of Airikkala's career

Airikkala was British rally champion in 1979 and Finnish rally champion in 1974.

He was known as one of the ‘flying Finns’ who dominated rallying during the 1980s and 1990s, and was perhaps best remembered behind the wheel of the Mitsubishi Galant VR4.

After his competitive career Airikkala set up a successful rallying school, where his pupils included subsequent world champions Colin McRae and Richard Burns.

He is understood to have passed away in Bray, Ireland, after a year-long illness.

Twitter - follow autocar.co.uk

Join the debate

Comments
8

1 October 2009

Another great taken early. Grew up watching him rally, what a great driver.

MAY YOU FOREVER DRIFT IN PEACE PENTTI.

To live is to drive

1 October 2009

Perfectly put, BentleyBoy

A gentleman and a Gentle Man...

One of the true legends of motorsport

Drift in peace, Pentti

Take no notice... I'm only here for the biscuits

1 October 2009

Saw him drifting a Chevette many years ago as a kiddy, made such an impression on me too.

RIP.

1 October 2009

The collective web of people with petrol in their veins,gravel stuck in their hair will indeed miss "Mr drift", a man who is right up there with BURNS and McCRAE, all are true legends, images of their exploits are burned into my brain, R.I.P Pentti.

Peter Cavellini.

1 October 2009

RIP. PENTTI.

A true gentleman.

1 October 2009

That is indeed very sad news, my condolences to his family.

I remember seeing him when I was a rally-addict in the eighties, a great driver. And no one Flys like a Finn...

  • If you want to know about a car, read a forum dedicated to it; that's a real 'long term test' . No manufacturer's warranty, no fleet managers servicing deals, no journalist's name to oil the wheels...

1 October 2009

RIP Mr. Airikkala. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

2 October 2009

One of my heroes. He didn't deserve to go so soon.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again
  • Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
    First Drive
    13 October 2017
    Off-road estate is now bigger, more spacious and available with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, but is it enough to make its German rivals anxious?