Hannu Mikkola, the ‘Flying Finn’, dies at 78 after legendary championship career in rally

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HELSINKI — Hannu Mikkola, the 1983 rally world champion who earned the nickname the “Flying Finn” and international renown in a driving career spanning more than 30 years, has died. He was 78.

Mikkola’s son Vesa Mikkola, a former rally driver, tweeted Saturday that “we lost my father Hannu to cancer this weekend. Most knew him as a rallying great who ushered in the golden years of the sport. To me he was dad.”

Mikkola started his driving career in Volvo cars in the early 1960s but made his reputation driving a series of Ford Escorts in world rally events in the 1970s, including a win in the East African Safari Rally in Kenya in 1972 and a British Rally Championship in 1978.

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On his home turf, he won Finland’s 1,000 Lakes Rally on seven occasions among other achievements.

Mikkola was at the forefront of the four-wheel drive revolution in world rallying and claimed the 1983 title in an Audi Quattro, the first for an all-wheel drive car in FIA World Rally Championship history.

He later teamed up with the Mazda team before retiring from professional motorsports in the early 1990s.

Mikkola made 123 WRC starts – with a total of 18 wins – and continued to compete as a guest driver at a variety of events until 2017, WRC said in a statement following his death.

News of Mikkola’s death prompted several homages from his former colleagues and fans around the world and in Finland, a motorsports powerhouse that has produced several Formula One and rally champions.

Dakar Rally winner Carlos Sainz  and two-time WRC champion Petter Solberg both paid tribute to Mikkola on Twitter

The organizers of the WRC Arctic Rally that took place over the weekend in Rovaniemi in Finland’s Lapland region, observed a minute of silence at the podium in tribute to Mikkola.

In addition, the Finnish Air Force’s F-18 Hornet fighter jets conducted a memorial flyover at the venue in honor of one of the Nordic country’s most famous rally drivers.

FIA President Jean Todt, a former rally driver, attended the event and in a tweet called Mikkola “a legendary driver and a lifelong friend.”

Max Verstappen is PointsBet favorite to score sixth staight in 2022 Singapore Grand Prix

PointsBet 2022 Singapore odds
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Max Verstappen is the PointsBet Sportsbook odds favorite to win the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay Street course to stretch his current win streak to six consecutive. He shows odds of -200 this week.

Formula 1 did not compete in Singapore in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Verstappen has podium finishes in his last two attempts on this track. he was second in 2018 and third in 2019. In the first 15 races of this season, he has failed to stand on the podium only twice and has an average finish of 2.73.

With minus odds, the way to determine a payout is by subtraction. In order for a bettor to earn $100, he must wager $200 this week; with that wager, he will get back his initial stake and winnings of $100.

For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Charles Leclerc is ranked second this week with +400 odds. He has two previous Singapore GP starts to his credit with a best of second in 2019. He is coming off back-to-back podium finishes with a third in the Dutch GP and a second at Monza.

Ranked third is Carlos Sainz, Jr. with a line of +1100. He has top-five finishes in four of his last five starts, but only one of these, a third in the Belgian GP, was on the podium. Sainz is one of four winners other than Verstappen this season. His victory came in the British GP.

Lewis Hamilton shows a line of +1200. His last win came last fall in the Saudi Arabian GP and the Mercedes team has struggled to contend for victory in 2022. They are improving, however, with eight top-fives in the last nine races. Hamilton has two wins in his last three Singapore starts, which came in 2017 and 2018.

Rounding out the top five is Hamilton’s teammate George Russell at +1800. He has not won, but has shown remarkable consistency with top-fives in all but one race. Notably, his only bad finish came in his home GP in England. Russell has one previous start at Marina Bay; he finished last in the 2019 race. He finished fourth in 2019 as part of a four-race streak of top-fives.

The most recent Singapore GP winner from 2019, Sebastian Vettel is a longshot at +50000.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

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