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More on Timo Rautiainen
A long-standing friendship with Marcus Grönholm

As a youngster growing up in Finland, it is hard not to become interested in rallying, such is the popularity of motorsport in that country. For the young Timo, born in 1964, it was more than a popular event.

As
a teenager living in Kirkkonummi, on the western edge of Helsinki, he used to watch local rallies before becoming more closely involved in the sport as a mechanic on some events for a friend.

In 1988 Rautiainen's best friend, Mikko Kalliomaa (now the driver of Grönholm and Rautiainen's safety car), decided to enter the Finnish Junior Championship in a Group N specification Lancia Delta and asked Rautiainen to co-drive. The duo won several rallies and finished second in the championship - behind Marcus Grönholm!

The following season they moved to Germany to contest the German open championship but Rautiainen started only a few rallies there before returning to Finland for financial reasons.

Midway through 1990 Rautiainen did not have a drive and Grönholm, whose sister was dating and later married Rautiainen, asked him to co-drive in a Group N Toyota Celica in the Finnish Championship. Grönholm won the title in 1991 but the partnership ended midway through the year when his financial backer wanted a more experienced co-driver to accompany his protégé.


Rautiainen spent several years out of the sport, but in 1995 Grönholm asked him to renew their partnership and they finished second on the Rally Finland, which that season was not a full round of the world championship.

Their alliance went from strength to strength and the pair now have the longest-running partnership in the WRC. Rautiainen has accompanied Grönholm to 25 WRC victories and world titles in 2000 and 2002. He stands second in the all-time list of WRC victories for co-drivers and has won his native Rally Finland on six occasions in the last seven years.

Away from rallying Rautiainen enjoys spending time with his family at home or at their villa, reading books, watching movies or exercising. As is the Finnish tradition, he also enjoys taking a sauna, and goes there every day.
Source Ford World Rally Team


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