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.

DESERT WRAPUP: A gallery of memories from this year’s Dakar Rally

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.”

Saturday’s Supercross Round 5 in Houston: How to watch, start times, streaming info

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The championship race has tightened up as the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, for Round 5 of the 2023 season.

With his 450 victory in the Anaheim Triple Crown, Chase Sexton has moved within four points of two-time and defending series champion Eli Tomac.

Jason Anderson is coming off a second place in Anaheim after crashing out of the first two rounds while racing in the top five. Ken Roczen earned his first podium last week since the 2022 season opener and the first for Suzuki since Chad Reed at Detroit in 2019.

Here are the pertinent details for watching Round 5 of the 2023 Supercross schedule at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023:


(All times are ET)

BROADCAST/STREAMING SCHEDULE: TV coverage of Round 5 will begin Saturday at 8 p.m. ET streaming on Peacock and will re-air Monday, Feb. 6 at 1 a.m. on CNBC. The Race Day Live show (including qualifying) will begin on Peacock at 2:30 p.m. ET.

NBC Sports will have exclusive live coverage of races, qualifiers and heats for the record 31 events in SuperMotocross. The main events will be presented on Peacock, NBC, USA Network, CNBC, and NBC Sports digital platforms.

Peacock will become the home of the SuperMotocross World Championship series in 2023 with live coverage of all races, qualifying, and heats from January to October. There will be 23 races livestreamed exclusively on Peacock, including a SuperMotocross World Championship Playoff event. The platform also will provide on-demand replays of every race.

ENTRY LISTS: 450 division l 250 division

EVENT SCHEDULE (all times ET):

Here are the start times for Saturday, according to the Monster Energy Supercross schedule from the AMA:

2:05-2:15 p.m.: 250SX Group C Qualifying 1
2:20-2:30 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 1
2:35-2:45 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 1
2:50-3 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 1
3:05-3:15 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 1
3:20-3:30 p.m.: 450SX Group C Qualifying 1
4:20-4:30 p.m.: 250SX Group C Qualifying 2
4:35-4:45 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 2
4:50-5 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 2
5:05-5:15 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 2
5:20-5:30 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 2
5:35-5:45 p.m.: 450SX Group C Qualifying 2
8:06 p.m.: 250SX Heat 1
8:20 p.m.: 250SX Heat 2
8:34 p.m.: 450SX Heat 1
8:48 p.m.: 450SX Heat 2
9:22 p.m.: 250SX Last Chance Qualifier
9:33 p.m.: 450SX Last Chance Qualifier
9:53 p.m.: 250SX Main Event
10:27 p.m.: 450SX Main Event

TRACK LAYOUT:

Click here to view the track map

HOW TO WATCH SUPERMOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON IN 2023Full NBC Sports, Peacock schedule

FINAL 2022 STANDINGS: 450 points standings | 250 East points standings250 West points standings


2023 SEASON RECAPS

ROUND 1: Eli Tomac opens title defense with victory

ROUND 2: Oakland postponed by storms

ROUND 3: Tomac holds off Cooper Webb again

ROUND 4: Chase Sexton wins Anaheim Triple Crown


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