Behind many successful Finnish rallye-driver You can see the touch & effect of Lasse Lampi. He has gathered his vast experience of top-level in rallying over those five separate decades, as a driver but also as a developer of a rallye-car.
The winners of NesteRally WRC2, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm, accompanied with Lasse Lampi.
His own rallying-career started back in 1975, when Lampi attended to Salora-Rally with a Ford Escort. But Lampi himself values the highest his two Finnish Rallye Championships, first one in 1983 with an Audi Quattro, and the second Championship in 1991 with a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4. Lasse Lampi is also the only Finn ever to the Middle-East Championship, commanding his RWD Group-A Mitsubishi Starion to win the season in 1987. His best single achievements in racing have been standing in the podium(3rd place) in Rally Sweden 1983 with his Audi Quattro, and also in the same year finishing 4th on the RAC Rally UK driving the Audi. The legendary Hankiralli, Rally of Lapland, has always been prosperous to Lampi, thus winning the overall competition no less than four times: 1981, 1983, 1984 and 1991.
A long career also contains a lot of races in exotic countries, such as the Bandama-Rally in Ivory-Coast, Rally of Malaysia and Middle-Eastern Championship Series, rallying in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordania, Oman and Dubai. His co-driver, Pentti Kuukkala, has been on duty in most of the events during those years. His so-far last attended race has been the Rally of Finland, ie. Neste 1000 Lakes Rally, back in 1996, piloting his Mitsubishi Lancer EVOIII to overall 8th.
As well as having a career in driving, Lampi has also accomplished a major task developing & testing rallye-cars. The drivers with whom he has worked in co-operation is a glorious list: Hannu Mikkola, Ari Vatanen, Timo Salonen, Kenneth Eriksson, Armin Schwartz, Tommi Mäkinen, Richard Burns, Freddy Loix, Marcus Grönholm etc. In the early-80’s Lampi used to do a lot of testing for team Audi(Factory), in Finland and also abroad. These testings paved & smoothed the way for the crowning of Hannu Mikkola as a World Champion in 1983.
Lasse Lampi commanding the second Ferrari in a show-special-stage at city-SS Harju
The solid test-work with team Audi opened a window to do similar tasks at team Mitsubishi, who were currently undergoing a development-process towards their own weapon to the Group-B. Lampi tells us: ”With this 4WD-Starion the Team Mitsubishi was able to attend to a few selected races, where regulations were allowing so called non-homologated-cars to compete, ie. Rally 1000 Pistes, Rallye Malaysia & RAC Rally.” This started the long companionship with Mitsubishi.
Lampi had a significant role as the Factory was developing the 4WD Group-A Galant and later all the different versions of Lancer EVO-models. Including those amazing years of success with Tommi Mäkinen & Team Mitsubishi, during which that era Lampi did massive amounts of testing and, working closely together with the engineers and pilots, created such tactiques that the Team Mitsubishi & Tommi Mäkinen reached four consecutive Drivers World Championship-titles and also Constructors Championships.
Today one of Lasse Lampi’s protege’s is Juho Hänninen. Teamed-up with Kaj Kuistila they enabled Hänninen to compete in the World Championship Series at Group-N, piloting a Mitsubishi with team RRE Sports. Succeeding in that series guaranteed Hänninen to be able to later professionally drive for team Skoda, team Hyundai, and as the most recent ”comeback-team”, Toyota.
After Hänninen had left Skoda, the opportunity opened up for the next talented Finn: Esapekka Lappi. ”At the time I promised team Skoda to help Esapekka, and I’m still on that same path”, laughs Lampi.
For the last few years Lampi’s duties with team Skoda Motorsport have involved him as a mentor for the drivers, since his field of tasks is quite vast: ”I try to assist the pilots in every possible way. I check the weather-conditions, help them to choose tyres, strategizing the races etc. And additionally I attend to almost every test-session”.
Planning & executing tactics during the rally has somewhat become a sort of a trademark when spoken about Lampi. ”There are races where You must be ready & awake immediately, and You must attack at once, and then there are races You must have a bit more patience. The rallies in the WRC are at least three-day-events”, hints Lampi.
In addition to all this, Lampi represents MIS Motorsport in Finland, who insure racing-cars and sell & service BOS-suspensions to competition vehicles.