The recently elected Prime Minister made an informal visit to the Jyväskylä service park during the ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship earlier this month.
He stopped off at Toyota Gazoo Racing, whose headquarters are just a few kilometres up the road from Jyväskylä, where he was hosted by team boss Tommi Mäkinen.
Mr Rinne also viewed rally control and the WRC TV compound, where he was greeted by WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla (above).
Speaking to WRC TV, the Prime Minister stressed the significance of not only having the WRC in Finland, but notably having a Finnish-based team competing.
“This is a very important happening here in Jyväskylä, but also for all of Finland,” he expressed. “It is very important for us that Tommi Mäkinen has created this Finnish team with Toyota cars. I believe it has made the Jyväskylä rally much more lively.”
Whilst acknowledging that he is something of a rally fan, Mr Rinne noted his wife Heta Ravolainen, herself a co-driver, is the foremost rally fan in the family. “I follow sometimes, but mostly it is my wife’s hobby,” he explained.
Mr Rinne was one of several senior politicians visiting the rally.
Ambassador Amina Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for Sports and Heritage, was part of a delegation from Kenya. She was a leading figure at last month’s successful Safari Rally candidate event as Kenya pushes for a WRC return.
A party from Rally Japan, which is also targeting promotion into the WRC in 2020, attended the event. Part of the group was Keiji Furuya, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives and chairman of the Motor Sports Promotion Parliamentary Association.