A Tale Of Two Floppy-Haired Finns
Do you remember Muddly Walker’s nickname for Mika Häkkinen? Well, the former World Champion – rumoured to be considering another F1 career, if you believe what has been written – was competing against fellow (floppy-haired) Finn Markus Palttala last weekend, in a Scandinavian Porsche Cup race at Ahvenisto in Finland.

dailysportscar.comHäkkinen raced for Porsche Sweden and Palttala for PSI Motorsport,supported by Porsche Finland.

As Häkkinen was starting his career at McLaren, he raced twice in Porsche Supercup, winning both races - in Monaco and Hungary. Palttala has more experience with Porsche, but mainly with the PSI GT2-R, which he's been racing in Belcar, FFSA GTs and FIA GTs.

Häkkinen and Palttala tested together for two days, sharing information, helping each other and matching times. Palttala beat Häkkinen in qualifying by 0.164 seconds, but the ex-F1 Champion made a marvellous start in race 1 taking the lead, while Palttala dropped to fourth. Palttala climbed rapidly back to second, caught Häkkinen, but couldn't find a place to overtake. Half way through the race Häkkinen started pulling away when Palttala suffered from overheated tyres. In the end, the gap between the pair was 1.9s.

In race 2 on Sunday, it started raining half-an-hour before the start. Häkkinen started on pole and Palttala completed the front row. Palttala passed Häkkinen on lap 4 and after that the younger Finn pulled out a clear gap and was able to control the race.

"It was great to race again in Finland after so many years,” said the younger ‘FHF’. Having Mika as an opponent was excellent and we had a lot of fun during the week. He's obviously a superb driver and I wasn't so disappointed for losing on Saturday, but I was really pissed for making it so easy for him.

“In the second race I could follow him easily and after overtaking him there was no problems to stay in front. Nice revenge, but main point is the good promotion for the Finnish national motorsport scene. I hope the fans liked what they saw!"

"I really enjoyed my first race after F1 and it was a great weekend for me and my family,” said Mika Häkkinen, after Sunday’s race. “I won yesterday and lost to a good guy after a fair fight today. My Formula 1 experience was shown on the starts, but the Porsche is not easy in wet conditions. Well, I hoped for more overtaking, but didn't quite mean this!"
Joost Custers


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