''Part of my heart is Italian''
He is one of the most charismatic personality of international rallying, a wise man who during his life was able to live deeply in the rallying world.
When he was young he was one of the best rally drivers, then he became organiser, race
director, member of several FIA commissions and he has been also television commentator for the Finnish television.
It is difficult to teach him something, lot easier is listening to him, for hours and hours, enraptured by the thousands stories he can tell. He is strictly bound with Italy, he has been official Lancia and FIAT driver for nine years, when three years ago he has been offered by Gino Macaluso and Ninni Russo the direction of Rally d'Italia Sardegna, he accepted with enthusiasm.
“Part of my heart is Italian and I had no uncertainties when I accepted the work I have been offered. Since the beginning I considered this as a big challenge: to create a brand new rally, in a place absolutely fresh in the world rallying scene. Today on the eve of the third edition we can say we won and we made a very important rally with special characteristics.”
Simo Lampinen goes on talking about these peculiarities: “It is impossible to find somewhere else what Sardinia can offer. The charm of this island and the charm of rallies together, an unrepeatable cocktail that makes unique this great competition. We didn't want to make a common rally and we succeeded. We chose the right way since the beginning and we made changes along the way following our experiences.
“I can say that the route now is a high level one. We slightly increased the average speed of the rally and I believe drivers will be pleased. We didn't change the main characteristics of this event, that it is still a medium fast rally, very technical and drivers need to be concentrated all the time.
Naturally we still have to grow, but there is the base for this to happen.”
Lampinen is happy with the job done by his group and by the job done by the Organising Committee especially by Angelo Sticchi Damiani and Antonio Turitto. “At the beginning someone here in Sardinia was looking at us with distrust, but now they are on our side. It is absolutely important to be accepted by the territory and the people living in it.”
To all appearance Lampinen looks fragile but is implacable when he is doing his job of clerk of the course, the role he has in Rally Turkey, World rally Championship, Rally Oman, Middle East Championship and Rally Thailand, Asia Pacific Championship. “Clerk of the Course is a very delicate job. You have to be absolutely reactive, particularly firm, but also be capable to face the others and listen to everyone. It is nevertheless important to be aware that the last decision is up to you.”
Press release Rally d'Italia Sardegna