Harri says 'farewell and thank you'

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Banbury, UK, Thursday 17th October 2002: The final NDS EuroBOSS race at Le Mans, France (26th/27th October), brings the curtain down on the illustrious career of Finn Harri Toivonen. It will signify the end of 40 years of racing for the...

Banbury, UK, Thursday 17th October 2002: The final NDS EuroBOSS race at Le Mans, France (26th/27th October), brings the curtain down on the illustrious career of Finn Harri Toivonen. It will signify the end of 40 years of racing for the Toivonen family, one of the most famous sporting names in Finland.

Harri Toivonen:

"It seems an appropriate time to end my racing career and now give something back to the sport that I love, and which has been so good to me over the years. My energies will now be concentrated on looking after young Finnish drivers. I want them to progress and make the grade in International motorsport but also to learn to enjoy the sport and respect the privileged life that comes with it. If I don't give back to the sport it will all seem to have been in vain."

"I was going to stop last year but Ian Dawson (then Race Director of Team Ascari) encouraged me to re-think my plans, we've been friends since we worked together in 1992. He was raving about me driving an F1 car, although I didn't want to commit to anything until I was sure I wasn't too tall to fit in the car. Also in my heart the chance to drive an ex-F1 car had great appeal as a fitting tribute to my brother. My brother was my hero, he always wanted to race in Formula One and was probably good enough to make the grade but my dad warned him off saying it was too dangerous. It turned out that rallying was too dangerous, taking my brother's life on 2nd May 1986. Exactly 16 years to that dreadful day I tested an Ascari powered 1996 V10 Benetton and made the decision to race in EuroBOSS."

"It has been a wonderful season, the atmosphere is fantastic and I've been surprised by just how competitive the racing can be. Driving at speeds of up to 200mph has been an amazing way to bow out. I've had such a wonderful career and this season has given me the opportunity to begin the huge process of thanking everyone who has supported me over the past 3 decades. I enjoyed 10 years of rallying and had a brief stint in Touring Cars before joining Franz Konrad in the Group C World Championship. In 1991 I drove the Kremer Porsche in my first of four Le Mans', and then joined the BRM Nissan team as lead driver of their Sports Prototype. In more recent years I have continued racing Sports Cars for, amongst others, Team Ascari in 2001, before switching to EuroBOSS this year."

"To the fans, media and race enthusiasts who have supported and encouraged me over the years, a very big heartfelt thank you and see you at Le Mans!"

Harri Toivonen's last race will be in the NDS EuroBOSS Series finale at Circuit Bugatti, Le Mans, which comprises two races over the weekend of 26th and 27th October. Harri currently lies in 4th place in the Series with two podium places to his name and he will be hoping to bow out at Le Mans with a strong performance.

-nds-

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