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Season 2010: FIA GT3 Europe & Finnish Suomi CUP rally series

Date
Event and location
Result
Report
23.01.
Arctic Lapland Rally #1, Rovaniemi
2nd
24.01.
Arctic Lapland Rally #2, Rovaniemi
3rd
20.02.
FRC Vaakuna Rally, Mikkeli
2nd
06.03.
FRC Itärally, Joensuu
2nd
02.05.
FIA GT3 Silverstone, Great Britain
14th & 6th
23.05.
FIA GT3 Brno, Czech
12th & ret.
05.06.
Spanish GT, Jarama
2nd
12.06.
FRC O.K Auto ralli, Kouvola
1st
20.06.
FIA GT3 Jarama, Spain
6th & 7th
04.07.
FIA GT3 Paul Richard, France
7th & 11th
30.07.
WRC Rally Finland, Jyväskylä
7th
28.08.
FRC Vartti ralli, Kerava
Retirement
19.09.
FIA GT3 Algarve, Portugal
4th & Ret.
02.10.
FIA GT3 Zolder, Belgia
8th & 5th

FIA GT3 European Championship series Final Standings 12/12 rounds:
1. Daniel Keilwitz & Christian Hohenadel, 183 points
2. Paul van Splunteren & Marco Holzer, 112 points
3. Mike Parisy & Joakim Lambotte, 109 points
---
9. Mikko Eskelinen, 54 points

Suomi Cup Rally Championship standings after 7/7 rounds: Top-5:
1. Mikko Eskelinen, 83 points
2. Jyrki Piira, 82 points
3. Timo Kuivinen, 40 points
4. Janne Eronen, 27 points
5. Markku Viitanen, 26 points


Season 2010 videos:
- Winter tests at Vanttauskoski
- Arctic Lapland Rally Incar compilation
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 6
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 10
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 11
- FRC Vaakuna Rally - Incar SS 1
- FRC Vaakuna Rally - Incar SS 2
- FRC Vaakuna Rally - Incar SS 3
- FRC Vaakuna Rally - Incar SS 4
- FRC Vaakuna Rally - Incar SS 5
- FRC Vaakuna Rally - Incar SS 6
- FRC Vaakuna Rally - Incar SS 7
- FRC itärally - Incar SS 1
- FRC itärally - Incar SS 2
- FRC itärally - Incar SS 3
- FRC itärally - Incar SS 4
- FRC itärally - Incar SS 5
- FRC itärally - Incar SS 6
- FRC itärally - Incar SS 7
- FRC itärally - Incar SS 8
- GT3 Silverstone - Start #1
- FRC O.K. Auto rally - Incar SS 4
- FRC O.K. Auto rally - Incar SS 5
- FRC O.K. Auto rally - Incar SS 6
- FRC O.K. Auto rally - Incar SS 7
- WRC Rally Finland tests @ Konnevesi
- GT3 Portugal - Race start and first lap



31.12.2009 - Mikko Eskelinen starts season 2010 in Arctic Circle

Highslide JS Reigning double Finnish Racing Champion, Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, 37 takes a break from race circuit and enters Arctic Lapland Rally with modern high tuned FIN-R spec Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX rally car.

Eskelinen had his first test behind the steering wheel of his new rally car in a test stage which was located in Nilsiä. Mikko and his highly experienced co-driver Arto Kapanen pours positive energy as the enjoyment which new car provided for the Champion proved to be very excellent experience and deepended the continous smile of his face.

- Even I'm not very superstitious I have to start my season from Arctic Lapland Rally. Call it the famous Lapland Magic, but since in two previous year I've also start the season from Arctic Lapland Rally and then won two titles, it seems like it's becoming a tradition, Eskelinen tells.

- I made my first run with new modern 4WD turbocharged rally car in Nilsiä test stage and was very impressed about it. FIN-R spec engine provided lots of power as the winterish scenery changed rapidly, satisfied Eskelinen continued.

Participation to Suomi Cup rally series

In two previous seasons Mikko Eskelinen has been titled as Finnish Racing Champion. Furthermore he's gained experience from European Racing arenas. Latest success he gained happened at the end November in the circuit of French Paul Richard. Together with his Danish team mate Eskelinen won the opening round of Formula Le Mans Winter Series.

As the negotiations for European Racing Championship series are still underway he's entering to a rally serie called Suomi Cup.

- Suomi Cup consists of seven rounds which first two are beign driven at the end of January in Arctic Lapland Rally. However my participation doesn't automatically mean that I'll be rallying for all seven rounds. I'll do it race by race and see how events goes, Eskelinen tells.

- My main goal is in European Racing Championship series and therefore rallying is just a nice change for circuit racing events, the Champion continues.

30.1.2010 - Mikko Eskelinen took podium Finish in Arctic Lapland rally - Racing Champion second fastest in Suomi Cup rally series

Highslide JSFlying Finn Mikko Eskelinen opened his rally season in a traditional way in Arctic Lapland Rally which was driven in surroundings of Rovaniemi. Eskelinen and his co-driver Arto Kapanen with their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX rally car finished the first two events in 2nd and 3rd position. In overall classifications reigning double Finnish Racing Champion is in second position as two of seven rounds have been driven.

Despite few technical problems and reverse gear he used in fast special stage of Jyrhämäjärvi Eskelinen drove steady performance. The rally was won by Citroen Manufacturer driver Daniel Sordo and Eskelinen had a superb 20th position in his fourth-ever rally. Also ex-Formula 1 Champion Kimi Räikkönen was slower than Eskelinen as eventually Räikkönen was in 58th position in overall classifications.

- I'm very satisfied for my performance and especially happy that I was able to keep up with the speed which reighning Suomi Cup Champion Janne Eronen did. However I could have been more faster if a stone which I hit hadn't twisted the bottom arm, I could remember to use diffs in seventh stage and hadn't spent time in snow banks at eight stage, told Eskelinen his moments during the rally.

- My co-driver Arto Kapanen and whole service crew did splendid job for the whole weekend. I'm very happy for success and especially the result. Big thanks for all supporters, shared Eskelinen his thoughts.

Räikkönen behind the speed of Eskelinen

Rallying isn't just turning a steering wheel and driving fast. It's team work in special stages aswell as in service. Secret for success is professional team who makes the job for the driver easier. For Eskelinen the secret is well-known racing engineer, double Finnish Rally Champion mr. Eero Räikkönen and his PrintSport Racing team.

- My two Finnish Racing titles didn't come my chance. Mr. Eero Räikkönen and his PrintSport Racing team did hellowa job and gave me best possible circumstances to gain success. Now we're trying to improve my speed in rallying and the result can be seen when reviewing the result board of Arctic Lapland Rally, shares Eskelinen thanks for his racing engineer.

- Third round for Suomi Cup rally series is to be driven in next three weeks in the region of Mikkeli. At the moment I don't know if I'll be driving in the event because my time schedule is quite busy. Before Arctic Lapland rally I told to rally event by event. However if now I could make the decision I definitely would be entering for the next round and be immediately testing for it. Time will tell when and where my next rally is, Eskelinen thinks.

- Event motorsport is just a hobby for me I'm very sure that the best special stage and the best lap is still in front of me. Old fox has started to learn new things and wants to develope his speed also in rallying. Successfull Arctic Lapland rally was an important event for me and for my whole racing career, Eskelinen continues.

Arctic Lapland rally was won by Citroen Manufacturer driver Daniel Sordo. Winner of Finnish Rally Championship SM2 was Kosti Katajamäki, who also enjoys the services of PrintSport Racing.

Final results Arctic Lapland Rally #1, Suomi Cup 3 group, top-3:
1. Janne Eronen & Toni Tamminiemi, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, 47:05,8
2. Mikko Eskelinen & Arto Kapanen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, +26,2sec
3. Markku Viitanen & Mika Alalahti, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI, +1:06,9sec

Final results Arctic Lapland Rally #2, Suomi Cup 3 group, top-3:
1. Janne Eronen & Toni Tamminiemi, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, 1:19:28,6
2. Erkki Koskelo & Seppo Kopra, Skoda Octavia WRC, +18,6sec
3. Mikko Eskelinen & Arto Kapanen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, +58,1sec

Suomi Cup 3 group standings after 2/7 rounds, top-3:
1. Janne Eronen, 30 points
2. Mikko Eskelinen, 22 points
3. Markku Viitanen, 18 points

8.2.2010 - Mikko Eskelinen enters FIA GT3 European Championship series

Highslide JS Reighning double Finnish Racing driver Mikko Eskelinen, 37, competes in FIA GT3 European Racing Championship series in season 2010. Eskelinen drives German Fischer Racing Ford GT with his danish team mate Christoffer Nygaardin kanssa.

Double Finnish Racing Champion made decision to enter FIA GT3 European Championship series after taking his second-in-a-row title in Finnish Racing Championship series.

- After successful campaign in Finnish Racing Championship series I introduced myself for teams who're currently racing in the series and tested their cars during the final quarter of season 2009. After hard negotiations Fischer Racing offered me a package to drive for podiums. Their Ford GT is very fast and because co-operation with my danish team mate Christoffer Nygaard has already proven to be successful I'm very satisfied for the agreement, Eskelinen tells.

- My goal is to drive trouble-free 12 starts and to reach for podiums as many times as possible. Goals are very hard but still very realistic. Furthermore my team mate is a professional racing driver who knows the circuits like his own pockets. In season 2009 he was fifth in overall standings and in season 2010 he also drives for GT1 Championship. I'm very sure that we'll make a hellowa team on season 2010, Eskelinen continues.

Racing season 2010 for Eskelinen starts on May from England. After speedy summer it all ends on final weekend of October in finals which are to be driven in Italy. Besides Circuit Racing Eskelinen drives in Finnish Suomi Cup Rally Championship series with his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX rally car. After two rounds he's in second position in standings.

There are also other fellow Finns entering FIA GT3 European Racing Championship series. Eskelinen welcomes his rivals.

- It's very wonderful that Finns are entering the series by large numbers. Even as we compete against each others we're all very good friends between the events, Eskelinen tells.

FIA GT3 European Championship series calendar for season 2010:
- 2.5.2010 - Silverstone, Great Britain
- 23.5.2010 - Brno, Czeck
- 20.6.2010 - Oschersleben, Germany
- 4.7.2010 - Paul Richard, France
- 19.9.2010 - Algarve, Portugal
- 31.10.2010 - Enna Pergusa, Italy

20.2.2010 - Mikko Eskelinen took command in Suomi Cup rally series - Double Finnish Racing Champion second fastest in FRC Vaakuna Rally

Highslide JS Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, 37, continues awesome racing performance now also in rallying. Multi-talented motorsport fellow drove second position in third round of Suomi Cup rally championship series which is to be driven inside Finnish Rally Championship series. Due superb performance Eskelinen now leads the series as there are still four events to go.

Steadly developing his speed, Eskelinen and his co-driver Arto Kapanen started the event well-prepared. Double Finnish Racing Champion found lots of new speed from pre-rally tests and as serie leader Janne Eronen was forced to retire the event due crash, Eskelinen took his position in standings. After seven special stages Mikko and Arto were one minute and 18 seconds slower than winner Tapani Hulkkonen, who drove with Ford Escort WRC.

- Despite excellent result I'm not complitely satisfied for my result. I couldn't drive like my pace note told me to do and therefore I wasn't able to rally on my own level for a start. On fourth stage I catch the rhythm and was able to pick up speed so that I passed Jukka Metsälä on final special stage. I tried so hard to reach him that I lost co-drivers mirror and rear bumper on the final stage, Eskelinen tells.

- Leadership in Suomi Cup Rally Championship series is a thing which has came me as a big surprise. I still consider myself as a race driver, but now it seems like from rally to another I'm also becoming a rally driver. For this reason I have to thank my outstanding team and its' members as all made very hard work for my success, Eskelinen shares his gratitudes.

FIA GT3 tests calling

Eskelinen cannot celebrate his second position quite long because on next day he flies to French Paul Richard circuit to test Fischer Racing Ford GT3. FIA European Racing Championship series starts on first weekend of May and everything has to be ready for it. After tests Eskelinen is soon back behind the steering wheel of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX rally car as fourth and final winter round of Suomi Cup Rally Championship series is to be driven in the region of Joensuu, Eastern Finland.

Eskelinen heads for rollercoaster stages of Joensuu without any risks and pressures of success. He's full of youth motivation and hopes to gain his first-ever rally win.

- Even only three of seven rounds are driven I've fullfilled all my goals. Still there are lots of work to be done because I have to take my first-ever rally win. It would be nice to end winter rally season to victory party, Eskelinen hopes.

Final Standings SM Vaakuna Rally, Suomi Cup: Top-3:
1. Tapani Hulkkonen & Pasi Kilpeläinen, Ford Escort WRC, 58:45,6
2. Mikko Eskelinen & Arto Kapanen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, +1:18,0sec
3. Jukka Metsälä & Sari Ohra-Aho, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, +1:23,8sec

7.3.2010 - Mikko Eskelinen Suomi Cup rally championship leader after four winter rounds

Highslide JS Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, 37, is preparing for FIA European GT3 Racing Championship as a Suomi Cup Rally Championship serie leader. In fourth round of the series, which was driven in the region of Joensuu, Eskelinen and his co-driver Arto Kapanen drove their third second position.

Eskelinen start the event by a driving mistake which happened in just fifth corner of first stage. Eskelinen drove into corner a bit too fast and suffered a spun. Due time loss Eskelinen focused on enjoying roller coaster stages of Eastern Finnish Rally. Once again Eskelinen was full of smile when entering the chequed flag of his sixth rally ever.

- I'm very satisfied for the result even I hoped it to be one step higher. Three silver and one bronze position in four winter Suomi Cup rounds is more than I ever could hoped for. I'm especially happy for the fact that I'm able to develope my speed from first round of the season and for the reason that in every Super Special Stage I've been fastest, told reigning double Finnish Race Champion.

- I suffered a driving mistake on the first stage of FRC Itärally. I had a bit too much of electricity and trust for brakes of my Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX rally car. I drove rest seven stages without risks and enjoyed winterish rally, Eskelinen continued.

Hard work awaits the Champion

Eskelinen entered legendary Eastern Finland rally from France where he drove his first official test with Fischer Racing Ford GT. Now after four successful winter rounds Eskelinen starts awaiting for opening round of FIA GT3 European Racing Championship series and second test session. Double Finnish Racing Champion is also enjoying his life with family and friends. Furthermore busy business life keeps GTM Motorsport driver on the move.

- 18 points Championship lead is a big thing for me. I couldn't accomplish it without my highly experienced co-driver Arto Kapanen and my GTM Motorsport and PrintSport Racing professional racing teams. I'm more than happy to enjoy forthcoming spring as a Suomi Cup Rally Championship series leader. However I still hope that on gravel season I could reach one position higher, Eskelinen shares his thoughts.

Hartikainen FRC-itärally final results 2010, Suomi Cup SC3-group, Top-3:
1. Timo Kuivinen & Matti Kangas, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, 1:06:13,1
2. Mikko Eskelinen & Arto Kapanen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, +46,9sec
3. Tapio Lauronen & Lassi Turunen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V, +55,6sec

24.4.2010 - Iceland ash forced Mikko Eskelinen to prepare in traditional way for race season 2010

Highslide JSIn first weekend of May reigning double Finnish Race Champion, Mikko Eskelinen, starts his 12 events campaign in FIA GT3 European Championship. Due Iceland volcano erapture and its' ash Eskelinen has been forced to prepare himself for forthcoming season in traditional way.

Due cancelled flights Eskelinen had to skip pre-season tests with his german Fischer Racing and therefore he had two practice days in Finnish race circuits with his season 2009 Championship car, Lamborghini Gallardo. For all surprise Eskelinen was in faster speed than exactly a year ago driven similar tests.

- Originally my plans was to test Fischer Racing Ford GT car in Europe but due volcanic ash in the sky those intentions were cancelled.I decided to have my own test days with my championship car due the reason that next time I see my race car is in practice session of first event in British Silverstone, Eskelinen tells.

- Test days were successful and when comparing lap times I set a year ago it all seems like my speed has grown a lot. It highly motivates me and gives lots more self-confidence for the toughest season so far in my racing career, Eskelinen continues.

Familiar blink in an eye

Mikko Eskelinen is exceptional motorsport driver. In first two racing seasons of his career he drove two Finnish Championship titles. Now before the start of his third season he leads Finnish Rally "Suomi Cup" after four of seven rounds.

For first two rounds of FIA GT3 Eskelinen heads with same strategy he has driven two Finnish Racing Championship titles.

- It's highly known fact that Ford GT3 is a very competitive car and german Fischer Racing a very appreciated team who makes sure that the car remains competitive during the season. As I don't have to take car for the car I only have to set my personal setups in order and to have a good co-operation with my danish team mate, Christoffer Nygard, shares Eskelinen his toughts.

- I head for Silverstone with confident minds. When the helmet is on my head I will drive as hard as I ever can. I will enjoy all experiences the serie gives me, no matter if they are positive or negative, Eskelinen continues.

FIA GT3 Silverstone rounds are to be driven in first weekend of May. In Finland a TV-channel called UrhoTV broadcasts the events in live. Also TV-feed is available on internet on series website at www.gt3europe.com.

2.5.2010 - Successful season start at Silverstone for Eskelinen and Nygaard

Highslide JS Fischer Racing started with a successful result into the 2010 FIA GT3 European Championship at the season opener in Silverstone. Christoffer Nygaard (DK) and Mikko Eskelinen (FI) finished good sixth in Sunday's second race, in Saturday's race the Scandinavian duo brought their Fischer Racing-Ford GT to the finish in 14th position.

In Sunday's race in Silverstone, Christoffer Nygaard showed a top performance. The young Dane, who also starts in the GT1 World Championship with Fischer Racing's sister team Young Driver AMR, was one of the quickest drivers in the beginning of the race. From starting position 10, Nygaard worked his way trough the field and was already second before the halftime of the race. He handed over the Ford GT to team mate Mikko Eskelinen in second position. The Finn could hold second spot in his very first race in the FIA GT3 European Championship, but shortly before the end of the race, four other cars overtook the Fischer Racing-Ford GT. Nygaard/Eskelinen finally finished sixth and scored their first championship points.

The first race on Saturday ended with a midfield position for the two drivers of the Fischer Racing-Ford GT. Eskelinen started from 21. position and could gain three position in the opening lap, but lost some places in the following laps. Christoffer Nygaard, who overtook the Ford GT for the second part of the race, finally brought the car to the chequered flag in 14th position.

"My goal was to score points and finish both races", Mikko Eskelinen declared. "So I'm quite happy with my first weekend in the FIA GT3 European Championship, as I achieved all my goals. It was my very first race at Silverstone, and I also need some more experience with the car, so it was not an easy weekend for me. Christoffer drove a very good race, he delivered the foundation for our good result in the second race."

"I had a really big moment in Sunday's race, when the leading Porsche spun in front of me and slightly touched my car. Luckily there was no damage to our car", Christoffer Nygaard told after the race. "Beside that, it was a really cool race today. The car was very good, I had quite some fun out there."

Next stop for Fischer Racing: Round two of the FIA GT3 European Championship, 22/23. May at Brno (CZ).

10.5.2010 - Mikko Eskelinen: My first-ever GT3 weekend in a cold British Silverstone Circuit

Highslide JS Preparations for my first-ever GT3 season went well. I have had few test days with Fischer Racing Ford GT and drove four rallies in first four months of 2010. I supposed to have a final pre-season test day a week before opening round. However it was cancelled because due volcanic ash my team was stuck in Abu Dhabi with GT1 car.

I still wanted to have a "shakedown" for Silverstone event and therefore I did it in Finland with my last year Championship car, Lamborghini Gallardo. I drove two days in Alastaro and in Botniaring circuits and was very satisfied my speed.

Then I flew to Great Britain and supposed to have a "recce" for the Silverstone circuit. However that chance also was cancelled and I was forced to start my first-ever GT3 weekend in non-familiar circuit with "eyes shut". My goal for the weekend was to have a trouble-free run and collect few Championship points.

In Friday GT3 cars had two free practice sessions. During those two hours optimal setup for the race and for the cars and drivers should be found. Ofcourse other setup work for the cars are also done in that period and time goes to driver changes and other works.

My first session was purely get to know to the circuit and viewing mirrors. For me it was complitely new thing as I tried to learn the circuit and drive as fast as I ever could at the same time faster cars passes me from both sides... For second practice me and my team analyzed data and seeked things to improve...

In second practice session I supposed to have more practice time. I was able to drive few laps and then rear left wheel blew up in over 200kms/h of speed. Fortunately I was able to stay on the circuit and drove slowly to pit. At the end of the session I was able to drive three more laps and then all practice were done!

Qualifications start on Saturday 9am. Circuit was drying after night rain and all drivers measured their speed with slick tyres. I suffered lack of confidence but still I tried to push as hard as I ever could. Result was 21th position which was pretty OK for my first-ever GT3 qualification. My team mate Christoffer Nygard drove 10th position for Sundays race.

In first round I was able to have a good start and pass few competitors in first laps. Feeling and experience was new for me because there were lots more cars on the circuit I had ever got used to. All other drivers seeked their best speed, but I suffered lack of speed. Christoffer pushed hard in his drive turn and was able to push us to 14th position.

Second round was start on wet circuit. However all drivers start the race with slick tyre. Christoffer start the race in 10th position and soon was driving for podium positions. Just a few moments before driver change our fellow competitor lost control of his car and hit the rear wheel of our race car. Even his car was badly damaged we fortunately suffered only weight balance problem in our rim. We were very fortunate not to suffer a puncture or other damages.

Christoffer came to drivers change in second position and I continued to maintain the position he had driven for us. Yet again I was in a new and challenging situation because I knew my speed wouldn't match for top drivers. Still I had to push very hard and view mirrors for not to make a stupid mistake like crash with fellow competitor. Just five minutes before finish I was in third position, but I couldn't do anything when experienced drivers passed me. Sixth position and first-ever GT3 Championship points was still very good result for me!

Silverstone GT3 race weekend was one of the most difficult race weekends I've ever had... New circuit, lack of test, puncture etc made it very hard.

Now I'm waiting for next event to become in next two weeks. Czech Brno circuit is lots familiar circuit for me as in spring I was able to drive one test in there. I'm heading for the next two rounds with very positive feelings because in tough conditions I was able to achieve my goals in Silverstone. On the other hand in these events anything can happen and still always you have to do your best. In these events Championship points are never secure no matter how well you drive. In motorsport technics and fail or bad luck finishes your event in a short period of time ...

Silverstone weekend showed how fast situations on circuit can vary and trouble-free run we can be in top positions.

21.5.2010 - New challenge for Mikko Eskelinen at Brno

Highslide JSFischer Racing and Mikko Eskelinen travels for round two of the 2010 FIA GT3 European Championship to Brno in the Czech Republic. The spectacular Ford GT of Fischer Racing will be driven this weekend by "Young Driver" Christoffer Nygaard (DK) and Mikko Eskelinen (FI). After a successful season opener at Silverstone three weeks ago, where the Scandinavian duo collected first championship points, Nygaard and Eskelinen are confident for another good result in the two 60 minute races at the epic Brno track.

Fischer Racing as well as Nygaard and Eskelinen haven’t raced yet at Brno, but tested on the Czech track in early spring. "We tested at Brno in March and it went really well“, Christoffer Nygaard says. “I like the track very much and it should also be well suited for our car. We were successful at the first races at Silverstone, so I’m quite confident we can carry this over to Brno." Nygaard will again be on double duty at Brno and will also race in the Aston Martin DBR9 of the Fischer Racing sister team Young Driver AMR in the GT1 World Championship. "Racing in both championships at Silverstone went better then expected, now I’m looking forward for some great races at Brno."

Mikko Eskelinen is also confident for his second race in the Fischer Racing-Ford GT in the European Championship: "Brno will be a little bit easier for me then Silverstone. At Silverstone the track was new for me as was the championship, also the car was quite new to me. We tested at Brno, so I know the track already and can fully concentrate on my driving and didn’t have to learn the track."

The 5,4 km long track in the Czech Republic proved to be successful ground for the Ford GT in the past. At the last race of the FIA GT3 European Championship at Brno, a Ford GT was victorious in one of the two races. Drivers of the second Fischer Racing-Ford GT at Brno are not confirmed yet.

3.6.2010 - Mikko Eskelinen: My second-ever FIA GT3 weekend in Brno

It was highly motivating to start for GT3 Brno event after 6th position in Silverstone and 8th position in overall classifications. I had lots of expectations for Brno weekend because I had done tests in the circuit earlier this spring and therefore I knew the track very well.

Ientered the event with my faithful race engineer Mika Heinonen. He has helpt me in almost every race I've driven in Finland. We made a good preparation for the event by getting to know the circuit very well. We walked a lot and drove with scooter to find best possible driving lines for the corners. Even I knew the circuit there still was few corner combinations which have been very tricky for me. However on hard work we found good exit positions for the corners.

Highslide JSI had a good feeling for the practice sessions as I knew the circuit and had tests there. In GT3 there are two one hour sessions. Before entering the circuit I imagined to drive appriximately 30 minutes per session, but lots of time was lost due red flags. After two hours of practice I had done only 13 laps...

For qualifying drivers faced a bit wet circuit when there were some rain during the night. I made a careful start and just waited the circuit to dry. Then few hard attack laps which gave me 11th position of 28 at that time. As the circuit kept drying I end up to 19th position when my fellow competitors were able to pass my time. I wasn't satisfied for the position but time felt good. However if I could drive 1,5 seconds faster it would have given me 12 better starting position for the race. On second qualifying session my team mate Christoffer Nygaard was able to drive 5th fastest time which provided us an excellent position for Sunday's race.

Weather for the first race was complitely dry but black rain clouds surrounded the circuit. When I drove from pit lane to starting grid one half of the circuit was full of water due heavy rain and other half was complitely dry. There were lots of water on the circuit.

On starting grid my team changed wet tyres for my car and the start was done behind safety car. It was very difficult to drive because cars in front of me made a massive "water wall" in front of me. I wasn't able to see anything and speed was about 250kms per an hour.

I end my turn in 14th position and Christoffer start to catch point positions. At the same time rain end and circuit start to dry up. My team wait the best possible time to change slick tyres but unfortunately we didn't have enough courage to change them when the time came. After the race we calculated that we would have driven one minute faster than wet tyres. When reducing times for tyre change, pit stop entry and leave from that time we would have been approximately 20 seconds faster which meant 5-6 better position in overall classifications. It was a major dissapointment to end the race in 12th position.

For the second start we had an excellent starting position. Fifth grid and dry circuit supposed to be an excellent combination. I waited my turn to come with high motivation because I knew Christoffer would have given me excellent position to continue towards finish. At the start Christoffer stayed inside and everything looked well. Next thing I noticed that one of our fellow competitor had braked too late and hit our car so that Nygaard had lost control of the car and hit few other cars before stopping to safety zone. It was game over before it had even got started. It was a strage feeling for me as I was waiting the car on pit lane, my team mate had a good start, somenone hits him and retirement was immedient.

My next FIA GT3 race weekend is to be driven one week before Midnight Summer weekend in Jarama near Spanish Madrid. In forthcoming weekend I'll be driving a test race on that same circuit in Spanish GT Championship series. It's a great opportunity for me to get to know the circuit and test the car for forthcoming events. I hope to have lots and lots of race kilometres in +35c hot weather.

5.6.2010 - Mikko Eskelinen 2nd fastest in Spanish GT - Finns conquered podium

Highslide JS In a Spanish GT event which was driven in Jarama, near Madrid a Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, 37, drove a test event for forthcoming FIA GT3 European Championship weekend. In a succesful race Eskelinen and his Danish team mate Christoffer Nygaard brought second highest trophies for their German Fischer Racing Team.

Scandinavian duo, which are currently in 14th position in FIA GT3 European Championship series after four rounds, finished the event in second position, just 0,374 seconds slower than their team mate, former Formula 1 driver Tomas Enge and Paulo Bonaficio.

Eskelinen start the event in fourth grid. He was able to drive nearly a trouble-free event in a weather approximately 32 degrees of celcius. Eskelinen and Nygaard drove a steady run and were fighting for event victory. However in 50 minutes of racing they couldn't pass their team mates and therefore drove double victory for their German Fischer Racing Team. More success for Finland were brought by Petri Lappalainen and Markus Palttala, who finished the event in third position, 19,301 seconds slower.

- This was an excellent day of racing and it end like we plan it. For us it was a test event for next FIA GT3 Europan Championship round which is to be driven in same circuit in two weeks. We made a strong performance and it was rewarded by a podium, which was very nice. We had chances for victory but we didn't want to risk double victory and therefore we decided to finish the event on this order, shared Eskeinen his satisfaction.

- In this circuit it is very hard to pass fellow competitors and therefore qualifying performance makes a great deal. In next FIA GT3 event in this round our only goal is definitely podium, Eskelinen continues.

At the moment Eskelinen lives a very busy race life and doesn't have a chance for holiday because on next weekend he'll be driving for Finnish Rally Suomi Cup Championship points in Rally of Kouvola. Mikko enters behind the steering wheel of turbocharged 4WD rally car in fourth and first gravel round of the series. Immediately after Rally of Kouvola Eskelinen jumps into a airplane and travels back to Spain for preparation into FIA GT3 European Championship which is to be driven in same Jarama circuit.

Final results, Spanish GT, GTS group:
1. Tomas Enge & Paulo Bonaficio, Ford GT, 52:20.056
2. Mikko Eskelinen & Christoffer Nygaard, Ford GT, +0,374sec
3. Petri Lappalainen & Markus Palttala, Porsche 997 GT3, +19,301sec

13.6.2010 - Mikko Eskelinen in superior Suomi Cup serie lead to WRC Rally Finland

Highslide JS Reigning double Finnish Race Champion, currently European Championship series race and Finnish Suomi Cup rally series driver Mikko Eskelinen, age of 37, showed again his skills behind the steering wheel in fifth round of Suomi Cup rally series which is driven in Finnish Rally Championship series.

Earlier in four winter rally rounds Eskelinen had driven three silver and one bronze position. Now in first gravel event of the season Eskelinen together with his co-driver Arto Kapanen kept fastest pace in their group and took highest Championship points. As there are still two rounds to go, Eskelinen leads the series by 38 points. To achieve his third-in-a-row Championship title he has to finish better than sixth position in one of next two rounds.

High engine temperatures and fuel pressures as a trouble

In seven rollercoaster special stage Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX rally car driver Mikko Eskelinen fought for highest podium position against Ford Focus RS WRC driver Jyrki Piira. Eskelinen had a strong start by driving first 23,77 kilometres special stage 19,9 seconds faster than Piira. However due high engine temperatures and low fuel pressures he was forced to reduce his speed.

Conclusion for the rally happened just few kilometres before finish of the final forest special stage when Piira made a hard attack to gain victory, suffered a driving mistake and lost over 10 minutes in a ditch.

At the end of the final super special stage very satisfied Eskelinen celebrated victory together with his highly appreciated PrintSport Racing professional team.

- I'm very happy for the result due non-trouble free rally day. Due high engine temperatures my team drop engine performance and due broken fuel pump we suffered low fuel pressures. Furthermore I stalled the engine at the start of second stage and therefore theme for this rally was changed into testing and preparation works for forthcoming my first ever World Rally Event which is to be happened at the end of July in my home town, Jyväskylä, Eskelinen tells.

- Before final stage I had prepared to take another second position but when entering the start line I received information that my fellow competitor, mr. Piira, had suffered problems in sixth stage and that I lead my group in a superior way. Victory complitely full-filled my goals, Eskelinen continues.

Also PrintSport Racing engineer mr. Eero Räikkönen was happy for the result and sees that his driver is now ready for World Rally Championship event.

- Mikko is a very determinate motorsport man who continuously wants to develope in race and rally. Our three common and especially succesful seasons brought us his first-ever overall victory in rallying. Two titles of Finnish Race Champion the victory in rallying hopefully tells you the direction of his developement, Räikkönen tells.

- In WRC Rally Finland the start number for Eskelinen among P-WRC drivers is going to be big. Therefore steady run without punctures will reward a good result. Also the experience of his co-driver mr. Arto Kapanen will come in handy. My and PrintSport Racing role is to maintain the competitiveness of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS rally car and turning the weakness Mikko has into strongness. I strongly believe that in WRC Rally Finland Mikko will again give us a pleasant surprise - like he has done in race and rally in past three years, double Finnish Rally Champion continues.

For summer vacation Eskelinen cannot even have a dream because on forthcoming weekend he's back on track in third race weekend of Europen GT3 Championship series which is to be driven in Spanish Jarama. Mikko together with his team mate danish Christoffer Nygaard will hunt for more European Championship points with german Fischer Racing Ford GT. Eskelinen seeks success in a circuit where he two weeks ago celebrated his silver position in a Spanish GT event.

20.6.2010 - Lots of Championship points for Mikko Eskelinen in Spanish Jarama

Highslide JS Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, 37, experienced his best-ever international race weekend of his career in third GT3 race weeekend which was driven in Spanish Jarama. Eskelinen with his danish team mate Christoffer Nygaard and his german Fischer Racing team took sixth and seventh positions in hot events. Eskelinen was very satisfied for good result and especially for his performance in very challenging weekend.

In fifth round of the series Mikko and Christoffer drove a hellowa fight against another Finns, Petri Lappalainen and Markus Palttala. In penultimate lap Nygaard suffered a technical problem in steering and was forced to give fifth position to Finns. Right after the race German Fischer Racing team start repair works and was able to finish them just few minutes before the start of second race. Even repair works were successful, the steering wheel of team's Ford GT3 was not correctly installed and it made disturbance for Mikko and Christoffer in second race.

In second race Nygaard once again drove an outstanding performance by driving to pits after 32 minutes of racing. Mikko jumped behind the steering wheel and start defending fifth position. However in final lap Double Finnish Race Champion was forced to give to positions for his rivals as they drove with high risks. Eskelinen didn't want to sacrifice the good result and decided to take seventh position and it's good Championship points.

- When considering not-so-well qualifying (16th and 12th grid) the 6th and 7th position in FIA GT3 is an excellent result for us. Furthermore my own faultless performance in rollercoaster Jarama circuit gave lots of boost for my self-confidence, Eskelinen tells.

- Once again my team mate and especially whole team made fantastic job which was rewarded by 13 Championship points. In overall standings I'm in equal position with my fellow Finns Petri Lappalainen and Markus Palttala. It means that it's going to be very exiting second half of the season as we measure our speed against each others, Eskelinen continues.

Winner of sixth race was Csaba Walter with his german team mate, lady Claudia Huertgen. Next two rounds for FIA GT3 are to be driven in first weekend of July in French circuit of Paul Richard.

- In post-race briefing of Jarama we discussed about how our speed has improved since opening race of the series. Now I complitely feel confortable myself in the cabin of Ford GT, Eskelinen tells.

- It seems like I'm going to miss summer vacation because preparations for next event is already underway. Right after FIA GT3 Paul Richard event I'll start preparations for my first-ever World Rally Championship event which is to be driven in final weekend of July in my home town, Jyväskylä, Eskelinen continues.

FIA GT3 Jarama 5th round final results:
1. Bernd Herndlhofer & Kenneth Heyer, Audi R8 LMS, 1:00:47,289
2. Daniel Keilwitz & Christian Hohenadel, Corvette Z06R GT3, +2.162sec
3. Giacomo Petrobelli & Diego Alessi, Ferrari 430 Scuderia, +5,549sec
4. Sean Paul Breslin & Christer Jons, Audi R8 LMS, +6.261sec
5. Petri Lappalainen & Markus Palttala, Porsche 911, +20.456sec
6. Mikko Eskelinen & Christoffer Nygaard, Ford GT, +21.809sec

FIA GT3 Jarama 6th round final results:
1. Csaba Walter & Claudia Huertgen, BMW Z4, 1:01:07.694
2. Paul van Splunteren & Marco Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 R, +21.984sec
3. Stephane Lemeret & Greg Franchi, Audi R8 LMS, +37.050sec
4. Daniel Keilwitz & Christian Hohenadel, Corvette Z06R GT3, +37.495sec
5. Joseph Osborne & Gilles Vannelet, Porsche 911 GT3 R, +46.828sec
6. Petri Lappalainen & Markus Palttala, Porsche 911, +49.011sec
7. Mikko Eskelinen & Christoffer Nygaard, Ford GT, +50.486sec

4.7.2010 - Enjoy and deep dissapointment for Mikko Eskelinen in GT3 Paul Richard

Highslide JS Seventh and eight round of GT3 European Championship were driven in French circuit of Paul Richard in very hot and demanding conditions. Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, age of 37, and his danish team mate Christoffer Nygaard once again drove an excellent performance and took seventh highest Championship points from the first race. However a technical problem in steering caused team to end second race in 11th position.

For both races scandinavians start from 10th grid and drove superb performance by avoiding mistakes and contacts with fellow competitors. In first race a loosened hood attachor forced Nygaard to reduce his speed and in second race Eskelinen suffered problems in steering which also forced him to reduce his speed.

Despite problems Eskelinen was satisfied for driving his best-ever result in his international racing career.

- In qualifying I was only 2,8 seconds slower than winner Daniel Keilwitz in 5,8 kilometres length and very demanding circuit. For me it tells that I've been able to improve my skills behind the steering wheel since start of the season. I'm very happy for that, shared Eskelinen.

- It was a very exhausting experience to drive in non-climatronic car in hot +35c heat. In second race I was also in good speed but a problem in steering caused me to loose up my speed. Still I tried to rush towards finish line but I couldn't do anything when my fellow competors passed me by, Eskelinen continued.

Non-points race gave lots of challenge for Eskelinen and Nygaard to reach medals in Championship stadings. Currently Fischer Racing drivers are in 12th position as there are still four rounds to go.

- Our fellow competitors, who drive with Corvette and Porsche are one step ahead of us. Also my team mate Christoffer Nygaard, who has driven excellent results in GT1 this season, has lots of questions for competitiveness of our car, shared Eskelinen his thoughts.

- Currently we're 38 points behind bronze medal. It means that in forthcoming four rounds we have to find more speed to our car, Eskelinen knows.

Because GT3 European Championship series continues on September, Eskelinen takes a break from race circuit and focuses his next two and half months only for rallying. Mikko is a leader of Suomi Cup rally Championship series and in next three weeks makes his debut in World Rally Championship series as he enters to his home rally, WRC Rally Finland with Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS rally car.

- One dream is about to come true in final weekend of July when I'm able to enjoy rallying in one of the best World Rally Championship event. Now I spend some holiday with my family and then enter to Finland and its' hot weather, Eskelinen tells.

Final results 3.7.2010 - FIA GT3 7th round, Paul Richard, France
1. Daniel Keilwitz & Christian Hohenadel, Corvette Z06R GT3, 1:01:12.220
2. Joakim Lambotte & Mike Parisy, Corvette Z06R GT3, +6.652sec
3. Gilles Vannelet & Antoine Leclerc, Porsche 911 GT3 R, +19.092sec
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7. Mikko Eskelinen & Nygaard, Ford GT, +32,731sec

Final results 4.7.2010 - FIA GT3 8th round, Paul Richard, France
1. Daniel Keilwitz & Christian Hohenadel, Corvette Z06R GT3, 1:00:16.352
2. Joakim Lambotte & Mike Parisy, Corvette Z06R GT3, +1.42sec
3. Paul van Splunteren & Marco Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 R, +1.883sec
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11. Mikko Eskelinen & Christoffer Nygaard, Ford GT, +1:00.891sec

FIA GT3 Championship standings 8/12 rounds:
1. Daniel Keilwitz & Christian Hohenadel, 138 points
2. Mike Parisy & Joakim Lambotte, 87 points
3. Csaba Walter & Claudia Huertgen, 66 points
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12. Mikko Eskelinen, 28 points

31.7.2010 - WRC Rally Finland best debytant trophy for Mikko Eskelinen

Highslide JS Reigning double Finnish Racing Champion Mikko Eskelinen, 38, once again prooved his motorsport multi-talent as he was rewarded by unique best debytant trophy of WRC Rally Finland. Eskelinen and his co-driver Arto Kapanen drove traditional fast-paced and rollercoaster Finnish special stages by seventh fastest in group-N production rally cars. Tarmac racing specialist finished WRC Rally Finland by 26th fastest in overall classifications which also included WRC and Super2000 cars.

PrintSport Racing driver Mikko Eskelinen was able to drove a nearly trouble-free event with team's Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS rally car. He and Arto was able to manage two technical insidents which occurred at the end of Myhinpää and in Himos special stage. In Myhinpää a turbo pipe was cut loose and in Himos a fuel tank was damaged by a rock.

Eskelinen appreciates his result and trophy very high.

- I think it's pretty good result to finish 16th fastest among 79 group-N drivers. My goals were set in top 20 and therefore it also was fullfilled. Due professional rally co-driver Arto Kapanen and PrintSport Racing professional racing engineers I collect a prize only one person in a rally can receive. I feel like I had successfully finished my school and it was rewarded by a stipend, shares Eskelinen his thoughts.

- Yes there was extra boost in my home event. Apparently it also was seen on the stages as I jumpt my rally car and drove like my pace note commanded me to drive. I'm very happy for my speed and therefore I have lots of motivation for the next Suomi Cup rally round which is to be driven at the end of August. In FRC Vartti rally I have a possibility to secure my first rally title, Eskelinen continues.

Eskelinen cannot enjoy his success for a long time because in next weekend he's back on the stage at Helsinki Motorsport Weekend event together with lots of famous national and international rally and racing drivers. To FIA GT3 European Championship series Eskelinen returns in the middle of September when penultimate racing weekend is to be driven in Portugal Algarve.

- In this season I've been driving a lot. GT3 European Championship series and Suomi Cup rally series has provided my lots of competitive kilometres and therefore at the moment I wouldn't mind to do something else than racing. Ofcourse success has been a key factor for my driving and for it I must thank for my racing engineer Eero Räikkönen and his PrintSport Racing team. Now I take few days off from motorsport and then return to the behind the steering wheel of a rally car in Helsinki Motor Weekend, Eskelinen tells.

WRC Rally Finland final results, Group-N production cars, top-3:
1. Ott Tänak, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS, 2:46:50.5
2. Jukka Ketomäki, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS, 2:48:18.8
3. Hayden Paddon, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS, 2:49:56.5
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7. Mikko Eskelinen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS, 2:56:21.8

28.8.2010 - Transmission failure forced Mikko Eskelinen to retire in FRC Vartti rally

Highslide JS A month ago in WRC Rally Finland Mikko Eskelinen celebrated the trophy of best privateer. Now in penultimate Suomi Cup rally round he experienced downside of rallying and suffered his shortest rally ever due transmission failure in start of first special stage of the seven special stages rally.

Eskelinen and his co-driver Arto Kapanen were able to drive only one kilometer from the start of the first stage before parking the car to the side of the stage. Despite retirement Eskelinen still leads the Suomi Cup Rally Championship series by 20 points before final round which is to be driven in final weekend of September.

- At the start of the stage I raised the clutch and immediately a big bang was heard from the transmission. The sound was so bad that I knew something broke up. No matter how carefully I tried to drive, I was forced to retire the event just one kilometre from the start of the stage when oils came out from transmission, Eskelinen tells.

- Dissapointment is very hard because me and Arto had lots of motivation for this rally. Even driving thru the rally and finish it would secure my Suomi Cup title but when I cannot do nothing for medal I just have to forget this dissapointment and start focusing next event, reigning double Finnish Racing Champion tells.

Eskelinens' hot and busy racing season continues in next three weeks in Portugal at penultimate weekend of FIA GT3 European Championship series.

Final results Vartti FRC rally, Suomi Cup 3-class:
1. Janne Mäkilä & Juha Lummaa, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI, 51:46,4
2. Jyrki Piira & Aki Maaranen, Subaru Impreza WRX Sti, +12,9sec
3. Mika Eloluoma & Anssi Vatilo, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII, +1:43,5sec
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retirement. Mikko Eskelinen & Arto Kapanen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, transmission

Suomi Cup Rally Championship standings after 6/7 rounds: Top-5:
1. Mikko Eskelinen, 80 points
2. Jyrki Piira, 60 points
3. Timo Kuivinen, 40 points
4. Janne Eronen 30 points
5. Markku Viitanen, 26 points

18.9.2010 - Top result for Mikko Eskelinen in GT3 Portugal - Flying Finn was just 1,19 seconds from podium

Highslide JS Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, age of 38, showed his talent behind the steering wheel of Ford GT3 car in ninth round of FIA GT3 European Championship series. In hot summer conditions Eskelinen and his german team mate Florian Gruber finished one hour event in fourth position, just 1,19 seconds slower than third.

Finn was more than happy for his best-ever GT3 result even a collision with his rival dropped him from the first-ever GT3 podium.

- Ninth start grid from qualifying was what we expected and it gave us good positions to start the event. I had a good start and during my driving turn I was able to pass two competitors. However when I was about to enter pit stop and drivers change my fellow competitor hit the rear side of my car in final corner of the circuit. The impact was so hard that I spun, lost 10 seconds and dropped down in classifications, Eskelinen tells.

- Florian Gruber continued racing and was able to pass many of our rivals. We only could have needed only one lap more to reach podium but this time the chequered flag was waved a bit too early for us to reach podium, Eskelinen continued.

Secret of speed in tyre durability

In two previous racing seasons Eskelinen drove two titles in Finnish Racing Championship. After this season Eskelinen will be known as a Suomi Cup Rally Championship winner and best privateer in WRC Rally Finland. In this season Eskelinen has been able to increase his in every GT3 event. He cannot explain his speed by a good luck.

- For me it's been very obvious that racing is more than just top speed. Also endurance is very much involved. Even today my racing engineer wanted me to drive top lap times I still drove to save tyres for Florian. In one hour event I pushed very hard and still tried not to break tyres. This strategy caused Florian to be fastest car on the track as he passed our fellow rivals, Eskelinen tells.

- Same strategy comes in handy tomorrow when we start the event from 15th grid. Florian starts the event and saves tyres for me. I'll attack tomorrow, Eskelinen promises.

Final results FIA GT3 EM Portugal, 10/12 event of the season, top-5:
1. Paul van Splunteren & Marco Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:01:41.788
2. Daniel Keilwitz & Christian Hohenadel, Corvette Z06R GT3, +5.849sek
3. Joakim Lambotte & Mike Parisy, Corvette Z06R GT3, +32.497sek
4. Mikko Eskelinen & Florian Gruber, Ford GT, +33.687sek
5. Gregoire Demoustier & Kenneth Heyer, Audi R8 LMS, +36.186sek

19.9.2010 - Crash dimmered one of the best-ever motorsport weekend of Mikko Eskelinen

Highslide JS Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, age of 38, lives hot and successful third-in-a-row motorsport season even he suffered a retirement on Sundays' 10th FIA GT3 start of the season. After Saturdays' best-ever GT3 result reigning double Finnish Racing Champion Eskelinen and his german team mate Florian Gruber experienced a crash when there were only five minutes for the chequered flag.

– Florian had a good run from 13th grid and brought the car to be on 10th position. In pit stop and drivers change we messed around by seven extra seconds which caused us to lose few positions. For the rest of my driving turn I tried to collect back, Eskelinen tells.

– Due very good condition tyres I was able to pass my fellow competitors and were able to rise four positions on stadings. However when there were only five minutes to go I tried to pass my fellow Audi competitor at the end of the main straight. I was able to get beside him to inner curve but at the braking he didn't notice me and blocked my driving line. I could't do nothing to avoid the collision and it was game over. Impact was so hard that it broke the steering from my Ford GT car, Eskelinen continues.

Eskelinen says hard attack and collisions are one side of the motorsport.

– Anything can happen when the helmet is put on and you start to race against each other. This time my fellow competitor didn't look to his mirrors as I tried to pass him. He blocked my way and we collided. Motorsport is very exiting due its' thrilling good and bad moments, Eskelinen told.

– Despite the collision and the retirement I'm very happy for my performance. In qualifying I was just one second slower than top drivers and at the first start we lose just the same amount of time from not reaching podium. In second start for several laps I was the fastest car on track. Therefore I'm more than happy for the Portugalise Racing weekend, Eskelinen shared his thoughts.

European Championship title for Daniel Keilwitz and Christian Hohenadel

Sixth and final weekend of FIA GT3 European Championship series is to be driven in first weekend of October in Zolder circuit of Belgium. Even Corvette Z06R GT3 drivers Daniel Keilwitz and Christian Hohendahel secured the European Championship titles in Portugal, Eskelinen still has lots of motivation for the final rounds.

– For the whole season I've been able to improve our performance and now we were just a blink of an eye from the podium. In Belgium my goals are set only for podium which also support our goals to finish the series in top eight drivers on Championship standings. We'll be racing very hard in Zolder, Eskelinen promises.

Final results FIA GT3 EM Portugal, 10/12 event of the season, top-5:
1. Dniel Keilwitz & Christian Hohenadel, Corvette Z06R GT3, 1:01:48.743
2. Paul van Splunteren & Marco Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 R, +6,602sec
3. Zakary Brown & Matthew Bell, Audi R8 LMS, +8.356sec
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retirement. Mikko Eskelinen & Florian Gruber, Ford GT, crash

FIA GT3 Championship standings after 10/12 events:
1. Daniel Keilwitz & Christian Hohenadel, 181 points
2. Mike Parisy & Joakim Lambotte, 102 points
3. Paul van Splunteren & Marco Holzer, 94 points
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12. Mikko Eskelinen, 40 points

11.10.2010 - Mikko Eskelinen best Finn in FIA GT3 European Championship series 2010

Highslide JS Once again Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, 38, drove a strong race weekend in final two rounds of FIA GT3 European Champinship series as he took 10 Championship points from the Belgium events. Reigning double Finnish Racing Champion and his fellow team mate danish Christoffer Nygaard finished the events in 8th and in 7th positions.

In penultimate round Mikko start racing from 20th grid and Nygaard finished the event in 8th position. In final round Nygaard start the event from 5th grid and Eskelinen tried to maintain their position but eventually he was forced to let three competitors pass him. Therefore Eskelinen scored 11th position in overall classifications. He's very happy for his debyt season and for the fact that he was fastest Finn in the series.

– For the final race we had major expectations from the 5th grid. In first half of the race my danish team mate was able to pass one position and broght the car to me in 4th position. During my turn I seriously tried to reach for podium but the attack cost us three positions when my tyres worn up, Eskelinen tells.

– Even seventh position wasn't what we tried to accomplish from the race we're very happy for the result and for the fact that once again we were able to finish the race and collect Championship points. In final round it was pretty hard because gripless tyres the car was very bad to drive and I couldn't do anything when three of my fellow competitors passed me, Eskelinen continued.

For the whole debyt season in European Championship series Eskelinen has been able to increase his speed. Double Finnish Racing Champion tells how important the previous experience from the circuit is vital when driving for top positions.

– When reviewing Championship standings I can say that all drivers in front of me has been driving these circuits for many years. They know the best driving lines for each and every corner but I had to learn them. For example my danish team mate Christoffer Nygaard is one of these drivers and to reach his speed it takes atleast 2-3 years of work in these circuits, Eskelinen knows.

– I'm very happy for my European Championship series debyt season. We were able to collect points from seven of twelve rounds and finished the event in ten of twelve events. Not once we didn't went off by our own driving mistake. Those two retirements were caused by either technical failure or crash during hard racing, Eskelinen tells.

Final results FIA GT3 European Championship series Belgium race, 11/12 event, top-3:
1. Patrick Söderlund & Edward Sandström, BMW Z4, 1:01:21
2. van Splunteren/Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 R, +9.126sec
3. Beche/De Doncker, Ford GT, +11.379sec
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8. Mikko Eskelinen & Christoffer Nygaard, Ford GT, +24.302sec

Final results FIA GT3 European Championship series Belgium race, 12/12 event, top-3:
1. van Splunteren & Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 01:00:04
2. Rodrigues & Makowiecki, Aston Martin DBRS9, +8.88sec
3. Ide & Franchi, Audi R8 LMS, +12.375sec
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7. Mikko Eskelinen & Christoffer Nygaard, Ford GT, +23.279sec

FIA GT3 European Championship series Final Standings 12/12 rounds:
1. Daniel Keilwitz & Christian Hohenadel, 183 points
2. Paul van Splunteren & Marco Holzer, 137 points
3. Mike Parisy & Joakim Lambotte, 109 points
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11. Mikko Eskelinen, 50 points

13.10.2010 - Disqualification of two fellow competitors rised Eskelinen into 9th position in overall classifications of GT3 European Championship series - Season goals fullfilled

Highslide JS Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, 38, rised two positions in final round classifications after technical inspections of the race. The cars of race winner and third position didn't pass the inspections and therefore the serie organizer was forced to disqualify their final round performance.

Due two disqualifications the double Finnish Racing Champion Mikko Eskelinen was fifth fastest and collect four Championship points more. In overall standings Eskelinen rised also two positions and finished the season in 9th position. He was also fastest Finn as two of his fellow countrymen were 12th.

- Two positions improvement brought me enough points to step into top-10 in standings. Therefore my debut season goal was also fullfilled. Because also my second goal, to be the best Flying Finn, also was fullfilled I'm very happy in every way for my first-ever GT3 European Championship season, satisfied Eskelinen tells.

Reigning Double Finnish Racing Champion also achieved success in rallying. In final weekend of November in a Finnish ASN prize giving gala he'll be given a title of Suomi Cup Rally Champion. Furthermore he was also best debutant in WRC Rally Finland.

FIA GT3 European Championship series Final Standings 12/12 rounds:
1. Daniel Keilwitz & Christian Hohenadel, 183 points
2. Paul van Splunteren & Marco Holzer, 112 points
3. Mike Parisy & Joakim Lambotte, 109 points
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9. Mikko Eskelinen, 54 points

24.11.2010 - Season 2010 gave third-in-a-row Championship title for Mikko Eskelinen

Highslide JS For Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, age of 38, international motorsport season 2010 will be remembered as a third-in-a-row Championship season. During the long season he drove seven rallyes and 13 international GT3 races which brought him 9th position in GT3 European Championship series and Championship title in Suomi Cup rally series.

In season 2010 Eskelinen was also rewarded with a trophy of WRC Rally Finland best debytant. He also was 2nd fastest in Spanish GT3 round which was driven in circuit of Jarama.

– This was my fourth ever motorsport season. It started in January at Arctic Lapland Rally and end in October at Belgium GT3 finals. During 9 months I drove 20 races. In Suomi Cup, which was driven inside Finnish Rally Championship series, I drove two victories, three second and one bronze positions. I also was best debytant in WRC Rally Finland, Eskelinen shared his rally thoughts.

- In GT3 I was seven times in top-8 and finished 2nd position in Spanish GT3 round. 9th position in European Championship series was a very good result for me in my debyt international season. I also didn't suffer any crashes in race or rally, Eskelinen continued.

After colourful events in European Championship series Eskelinen was only 1,2 seconds slower from his first-ever podium position. 4th position in Portugalise event was the best result for him and german Fischer Racing Team in season 2010. Eskelinen and his team mates drove to finish in 10 of 12 events and collected Championship points in seven rounds.

With a bit better luck and a bit better positions Eskelinen would have been atleast two positions higher in European Championship serie standings. Stil he was more than happy for the 9th position and Suomi Cup rally championship title.

– In rallying the key for success was steady performance in all our rounds. Due good results I was able to pass the final round and start celebrating the Championship. Furthermore the trophy of best debytant in WRC Rally Finland was an excellent bonus for this long season, Eskelinen tells.

Not a season without Championship

– In rallying my racing engineer and a good friend, double Finnish Rally Champion mr. Eero Räikkönen has already joked that now it would be the time to choose a serie for season 2011 where I want to have the Championship title. Ofcourse I would like to collect another Championship title but if now I would have to decide what to drive in forthcoming season I would say that I'll enter selected Finnish Rally Championship events like Arctic Lapland rally. Also WRC Rally Finland and GT3 European Championship series would be included in my campaign. I feel that I haven't driven the best special stage and best lap of my career. Therefore at the moment I'm very motivated for season 2011, Eskelinen tells.

Big thanks for sponsors and partners

In motorsport the importance of sponsors and partners cannot ever to give enough regards. Eskelinen gives big thanks for his sponsors and partners for successful season.,

– For me my sponsors and partners are more than just sponsors and partners. They are very important part of my success and without their effort and support we wouldn't now celebrate my third-in-a-row Championship title. Big thanks for all of them, shared the Champion of his feelings.

– I would also like to thank for finnish PrintSport Racing and german Fischer Racing for very enjoyable events. In every 20 rounds I drove I felt like being a manufacturer driver as I didn't have to do anything else than just to arrive for the event , jump inside the cabin of the car and take control of it. Now I know how f.ex Ford manufacturer rally driver Mikko Hirvonen feels in his job at M-Sport, Eskelinen tells.
 
Mikko Eskelisen kotisivut on suunnitellut ja toteuttanut MediaGuru Jack Bacon - Digitaalisen median tuotantostudio - www.mediaguru.fi