When Alexander Lindholm and Sami Reinikainen, who have been successful in recent years, moved on to new challenges, the way was clear for a new World Champion in the hotly contested UIM F4 class.
At the beginning of the season, Tino Lehto certainly looked the firm favourite for the title. This was quickly backed up when he won the opening F4 RaceWKND rounds in Lohja and Rauma. The momentum kept going when he won at the opening round of the World Series in Brindisi, Italy.
Then at the European Championship in Latvia, Lehto had a bad crash, because of which his hand had to be operated on and he will no longer be able to compete in the last races of this year. Lehto has a long rehabilitation process ahead of him and the target is next season.
Of course, this is a tough fight mentally as well. There would have been a chance to fight for the World Championship with Stefan Arand. It would have made a great battle. But there’s no need to worry. Every year, championships are awarded. This year was not my time. We have a good team behind us, and we will certainly have an equally competitive fleet in the future. I have full faith that we will come back here even stronger.
The Vaasa competition was won by Jarno “Jape” Vilmunen, who, along with second-placed Roope Virtanen, are amongst the favourites to become the Finnish Champion. The season culminates in Jyväskylä’s Lutako on August 20-21. ISTV and Ruutu will show the events of the closing day live.
The UIM F4 World Championship, on the other hand, will be decided in Smedjebacken, Sweden, on August 26-28. Virtanes and Vilmuse have an excellent chance to challenge Estonia’s Stefan Arand, who after Lehto’s injury is leading the World Series. Vilmus has the boat of last season’s World Champion Sami Reinikainen, and his pace has improved as the season progresses, so there is plenty to be excited about.
Images supplied by Nuppu Böhmig at RaceWKND