MRD Motorsport Europe racing in the 2004 Finnish Formula Ford Championship

At Hameenlinna (Ahvenisto) this weekend, MRD Motorsport Europe scored their maiden victory, running in the final two races of the 2004 Finnish Formula Ford Championship. The team, owned by Petri Myllarinen, who has been associated with the Astromega F3000 team for many years, usually runs in the Belgian Formula Renault Championship, with Marko Keranen. However, this weekend Petri and the team returned home to Finland to run a 2000 Van Diemen for Ilmari Ullakko, the 24-year old from Waasa.

With only two races left in the championship, there was nothing that could be done to get Ullakko into a championship winning position, but there was a real possibility of a race win, and it looked even more likely after qualifying for Saturday's race. The team and driver both put in a solid effort and at the end of the session Ullakko had qualified third.

When Saturday's race started, Ullakko, who had only done three single- seater races prior to this, was not hanging around. By the first corner he'd snatched second place, and he would hang onto it all the way to the chequered flag to take a fine podium position for himself and the team. It also meant that he would start from the front row for Sunday morning's race. Victory looked as if it might be within reach.

Sure enough, another lightning start on a warm, sunny Sunday morning, saw Ullakko snatch the lead before the race was a lap old. It wasn't the end of the story though and his race certainly wasn't lacking in excitement. Second placed man Juho Annala was not about to give way to the newcomer if he could help it, and he stayed on Ullakko's gearbox for the remainder of the race, repeatedly attacking for the lead. Despite the constant pressure from the rear, Ullakko came home a happy winner, giving the team their first ever victory. On this sort of form, it won't be their last.

-By Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas for MRD Motorsport