PUHAKKA JOINS VOLKSWAGEN RALLY TEAM
Volkswagen will field at least two cars in the 1996 British Rally Championship, it was confirmed today (Friday). Jouko Puhakka will pilot the second 'Colour Concept' Golf GTi 16V with major backing from Revolution Wheels, joining fellow Finn Tapio Laukkanen in Volkswagen's bid for UK rally honours.
Puhakka, 33, has been Group N runner-up in the Finnish national championship four times in the last five years and brings to the team a wealth of rally experience. "We are absolutely delighted to have signed Jouko," said Steve Bagnall of SBG Sport, Volkswagen's rallying partner. "He was by far the quickest man in Group N in Finland this year. He was fastest on some 56 special stages over the course of the season - nearly twice as many stage wins as his nearest rival."
Puhakka, whose rallying career started in 1984, was Group B Champion in Finland in 1989, driving an Audi quattro A2. He lives in Tuusula, near Helsinki, and runs a car body repair business. He will contest the first three rounds of the Mobil 1/Top Gear RACMSA British Rally Championship with co- driver Marko Lehtonen, after which his programme will be reviewed.
In addition to the Revolution Wheels sponsorship, additional backing for Puhakka's car comes from Sony, Dunlop and Russian oil company Teboil.
Puhakka is a close friend of 26-year-old Laukkanen, the man who will spearhead the Sony/Volkswagen assault on all rounds of the British series next year, as well in the Finnish series. The twin Finns may yet be joined by a third driver: "We are now actively working on a third car for the British Championship," said Steve Bagnall.
Volkswagen rallying on the WEB http://www.demon.co.uk/racing/vwrally.html