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Season 2011: FIA GT3 Europe & Finnish Rally Championship series

Time of Race
Rally name and location
Toivakka Rallisprint
Arctic Lapland Rally #1, Rovaniemi
Arctic Lapland Rally #2, Rovaniemi
FRC Vaakuna Rally, Mikkeli
FRC O.K. Auto rally, Kouvola
FIA GT3 Algarve, Portugal
7th & ret.
FIA GT3 Silverstone, Great Britain
16th & 15th
POP-Pankki FRC-rally, Lapua
FIA GT3 Navarra, Spain
ret. & 15th
FIA GT3 Paul Richard, France
10th & ret.
WRC Finland, Jyväskylä
7th (gr. N)
FIA GT3 Slovakiaring, Slovakia
ret. & 8th
Rata-SM Finals, Ahvenisto (Finland)
1st & 1st
FIA GT3 Zandvoort, Belgium

FIA GT3 European Championship final standings 12/12 rounds:
1. Francesco Castellacci & Federico Leo, 111 points
2. Mike Parisy, 102 points
3. Enzo Ide, 100 points
4. Dominik Baumann & Brice Bosi, 95 points
5. Philippe Giauque, 93 points
20. Mikko Eskelinen & Christoffer Nygaard, 27 points

Finnish Rally Championship final standings 7/7 rounds:
1. Juha Salo, 97 points
2. Joonas Lindroos, 93 points
3. Jarkko Nikara, 66 points
11. Mikko Eskelinen, 17 points

Season 2011 videos:
- Toivakka rallysprint incar
- MooseHill test stage incar
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 1
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 2
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 3
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 4
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 5
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 6
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 7
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 8
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 9
- Arctic Lapland Rally - Incar SS 10
- 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
- FIA GT3 Silverstone (compilation)
- FRC Lapua rally - Incar SS 1
- FRC Lapua rally - Incar SS 2
- FRC Lapua rally - Incar SS 3
- WRC Finland tests @ Mäntyharju
- FIA GT3 Slovakiaring (compilation)
- FIA GT3 Zaanvoort (crash)

3.1.2011 - Mikko Eskelinen: Enjoyful and busy new year 2011 for all motorsport people and fans

Highslide JS A month ago a Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, age of 38, collected his first-ever Suomi Cup gold medal. Now he has start preparations for forthcoming season which starts at the end of January at Arctic Circle in Arctic Lapland Rally. As the test and developement work has started, he also end his three months of absense from the cabin of race car.

Futhermore Eskelinen negotiates for a campaign in GT3 European Championship series.

– Three months break from racing is a long time. Previously when I sat in a racing car was in first weekend of October in final round of GT3 European Championship seris in Belgium. During this break I've focused my efforts for business until now it's once again time to start the engine of my rally car and head for new challenging season, Eskelinen tells.

– Negotiations for my second season in FIA GT3 European Championship series are currently underway and if everything turns out OK I have excellent changes to improve my 9th position and drive for podium positions. In rallying I drive only two rounds; Arctic Lapland Rally is a hellowa experience and another one is WRC Rally Finland which is to be driven at the end of July in surroundings of my home city, Eskelinen continues.

Double Racing Finnish Champion and reigning Suomi Cup Rally Champion continues his preparation on forthcoming week when his PrintSport Racing team drives three days test on same are where Arctic Lapland Rally is to be driven.

– A year ago I start Arctic Lapland Rally with a 10 special stage experience. I was a junior rally driver who drove on miserable condition stage. Now I have gained experience from five Finnish Rally Championship rounds aswell as from WRC Rally Finland. Also due new start order I will start Arctic Lapland Rally right after top Finnish Rally Championship serie drivers. It also guarantees me a top condition stage, Eskelinen tells.

– Another new thing is that as in season 2011 I'm not driving for any Rally Championship serie points I can drive with big risks in Arctic Lapland Rally to see my speed against my fellow competitors. As we all are waiting for Arctic Lapland Rally to start I would like to hope a very enjoyful and especially very busy rally season 2011 for motorsport people, Eskelinen continues.

16.1.2011 - Mikko Eskelinen 2nd fastest in his first-ever snow rally sprint

Highslide JS Reighing Finnish Rally Cup Champion and double Finnish Racing Champion Mikko Eskelinen, 38, once again gave a strong show from his rallying skills and was 2nd fastest driver in Toivakka rally sprint.

His performance was very exceptional because it was his first-ever snow rally sprint and second rally sprint event ever. In a 2,7 kilometres circuit he was just 2,21 seconds slower than winner Jarkko Särkkä who have won all previous three rally sprint events this year.

- Despite few small driving mistakes I had a very good and risk-free run in Toivakka rally sprint. Before the event I had no idea of my speed when comparing to my fellow competitors. Therefore silver position was a very big surprise for me, Eskelinen joys and continues, - I'm very happy for my driving because I even didn't use my maximum speed.

- The result was more than I ever hoped for and it gives me lots and lots of new motivation for forthcoming Arctic Lapland Rally. I'm also very happy that I was nearly able to match for the speed for Finnish Rallysprint Championship series winning candidate Jarkko Särkkä and I was able to beat nearly 30 years of successful career driven Ari Könönen. I believe this was a strong performance of my rallying skills, Eskelinen continues.

Back to vehicle inspection business

In year 1995 Eskelinen formed first-ever private car inspection company in Finland. Then he build a K1 Katsastajat vehicle inspection company group and sold it to spanish people. Now on next Monday he experience a Deja Vu -feeling when he opens a brand new Plus Katsastus vehicle inspection office to Jyväskylä.

New vehicle inspection office also services racing car drivers in racing car vehicle inspections.

- Past few weeks have been very busy. Building a new company offices and preparations for Arctic Lapland Rally with its' tests have given me lots of work, Eskelinen tells.

- Besides car and van vehicle inspections we handle with racing car inspections. Our chief inspector Harri Koskela has deep knowledge and especially experience from all levels of motorsport. He helps and guides all motorsport people. Welcome to have a coffee and f.ex to chat of racing activity with us in our office, Eskelinen sends regards.

XIII Toivakka rally sprint final results:
1. Jarkko Särkkä, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI, 2,04,37sec
2. Mikko Eskelinen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, 2,06,56sec
3. Ari Könönen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, 2,07,58sec

29.1.2011 - Arctic Lapland rally gave first Finnish Rally Championship points ever to Mikko Eskelinen

Highslide JS Traditional Finnish Rally Championship season opener, Arctic Lapland Rally was driven 46th time in a northern Finland city called Rovaniemi. For Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, age of 38, the rally gave two kind of feelings. After dissapointing first day he was able gather himself and finish the rally in SM1-group 10th position. His goal was to drive for top 10 position and as was able to do so, he also collect his first ever Finnish Rally Championship series points.

– Second rally day was a much better than first day. I was able to pick up my speed by driving the stages a bit faster than my pace notes told me to do. It was enough for me to reach my goals, Eskelinen tells.

– My third ever Arctic Lapland rally was a very educational rally. Top Finnish Rally Championship drivers took hellowa risks with their car on narrow snow stages and that is what I have to learn next. Even my performance was too slow on first day I'm very happy that I was able to achieve 10th position in SM1-group overall classifications and for the first Championship serie points ever, Eskelinen continues.

"Similar result which Kimi Räikkönen did in his first ever Arctic Lapland Rally"

Eskelinen and his co-driver Arto Kapanen drove a technically trouble-free event with PrintSport Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS rally car. When closely reviewing the results Eskelinen made same kind of results as Kimi Räikkönen did in season 2009 when he drove his first-ever Arctic Lapland Rally. There were lots of similarities in the speed which both tarmac circuit specialists did on the stages.

– When in season 2009 Kimi drove his first-ever Finnish Rally Championship serie event he finished it in 13th position. As I now have same amount of rally experience as Kimi had in 2009 my 10th position is a perfect result. If I would like to follow the footsteps Kimi has done since 2009 Arctic Lapland Rally I would have to contact Citroen or Ford Manufacturer Rally teams to suit myself for World Rally Championship series. Well.... Maybe not, Eskelinen humorized.

– Next weeks I'll be negoating for FIA GT3 European Championship series and ofcourse a decision of participation for next Finnish Rally Championship series must have also been made. However for a few days more I want to enjoy Arctic Lapland Rally after-experience because rallying is an excellent hobby for a busy people like me. My new business in car examination industry has had a very good start but it still needs some more work, Eskelinen tells his future plans.

Final results Arctic Lapland rally, Rovaniemi, overall classifications
1. Juha Salo & Marko Salminen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS, 2:03:22,2
2. Janne Tuohino & Risto Pietiläinen, Ford Fiesta S2000, +9,2sec
3. Joonas Lindroos & Pasi Kilpeläinen, +22,1sec
11. Mikko Eskelinen & Arto Kapanen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS, +8:45,2sec

19.2.2011 - Once again Mikko Eskelinen into Finnish Rally Championship points in FRC Vaakuna rally

Highslide JS In Fridays' Super Special stage of FRC Vaakuna Rally Mikko Eskelinen, age of 38, gave a strong show of his speed. After first stage he was second fastest driver, just 0,2 seconds slower than stage winner Jarkko Nikara. However on next day and its' six forest stages Eskelinen wasn't able to keep up his speed and after colourful events he finished the rally in 9th position.

Eskelinen and his co-driver Arto Kapanen struggled with too slow pace notes and snow-dust which was sent to air by fellow competitors. Still double Finnish Racing Champion was satisfied for his performance and Finnish Rally Championship points.

– In recce I thought I made a perfect note and I drove exactly like the note told me to do. Now after the rally I should have made braver notes and to take more risks. Even before the start I knew that as a beginner rally driver I couldn't do nothing against my fellow competitors who have driven years this serie I'm more than happy for 9th position. I was able to beat few top drivers and didn't lose much from third position, Eskelinen tells.

– I'm especially happy for faultless drive and that once again I was able to drive without technical worries with PrintSport Racing rally car. If only I could have been a bit faster my day would have been perfect, Eskelinen continued.

FRC Vaakuna rally was 10th rally for Eskelinen in his rally hobby. Flying racing specialist Finn drove 95 special stage kilometres 4 minutes and 42,2 seconds slowe than multiple Finnish Rally Champion and rally winner Juha Salo. Eskelinen was also slowed down by snow dust.

- If we speculate a bit my performance would have been better if my starting position would have also been better. Now I drove the stages as 16th competitor and suffered loose snow which was brought to stages by my fellow competitors. I couldn't drive in a perfect line and slided a lot on loose snow, Eskelinen sends regards to the people who planned starting order.

– Next round is to be driven in two weeks. However at the moment I cannot say I'll participate the event or not. Fortunately I have few days time to make to decision and I believe now it's time to ask this issue from my wife who's about to deliver us a new baby. Furthermore negoations on competing with FIA GT3 European Rally Championship series are in underway and I'll try to finish the deal in forthcoming weeks, shared Eskelinen his future.

Final results FRC Vaakuna rally
1. Juha Salo & Marko Salminen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS, 54:32,0
2. Joonas Lindroos & Pasi Kilpeläinen, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, +40,0sec
3. Janne Tuohino & Risto Pietiläinen, Ford Fiesta Super2000, +1:18,2sec
9. Mikko Eskelinen & Arto Kapanen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS, +4:42,2sec

5.3.2011 - Mikko Eskelinen left only one second from his dream in FRC O.K. Auto rally

Highslide JS Double Racing Champion and reigning Suomi Cup rally Champion Mikko Eskelinen, age of 38, fullfilled almost every goals he had set for the rally. Once again he was able to collect Championship points even he was left only one second from his drream. His dream was to drive his first-ever fastest special stage time, but this time he was only 1 second slower than stage winner. In previous round he was only 0,2 seconds slower than winner.

Eskelinen and his co-driver Arto Kapanen had a dangerous start for the rally when spectators were walking on the special stage and didn't hear Mikko coming behind the crest. Furthermore in third stage a big hit with a rock was nearly to finish his rally and a huge flu reduced his ability to focus on rally. Despite demanding conditions Eskelinen gave his best and was able to reduce the gap for winner Juha Salo.

– In first special stage I drove over crest in approximately 150kms of speed. We jump a bit and immediately I noticed that few spectators were walking in the middle of the road. Fortunately they were able to jump a side just few moments before impact. Yet that moment gave me serious feelings and I lost focus for rallying. Furthermore in third stage and its' one very tight right corner I cut a but too much and hit a rock pretty hard. Immediately after the impact I discovered that the steering wasn't ok as co-drivers side suspension and wheel had suffered major damages. Fortunately there were just two kilometres to the end of the stage and 10 transit kilometres to service, Eskelinen tells.

– In service my PrintSport Racing team and its' personel made superb job and were able to fix the car in order so that I could continue rallying. My goals were set for the final stage and its' fastest special stage time. However this time it was left just for one second away from me. Only three my fellow competitors drive the stage faster than me and therefore I'm very happy for my performance, Eskelinen continued.

Winner of SM O.K. Auto rally was six times Finnish Rally Champion, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS driver Juha Salo who also leads the series after four of seven rounds. Second fastest was young Matti Rantanen with Peugeot S2000 rally car and third was Jarkko Nikara with his old Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX rally car. After 86 special stages Eskelinen was happy for the fact that he had reduced the gap for winner Juha Salo.

– In pre-rally week I hardly analyzed the data and incar videos from previous events. Now in FRC O.K. Auto rally I was able to improve my driving especially in those areas which I previously had difficulties and made driving mistakes. Unfortunately hard flu reduced my focus for rallying and therefore I couln't do a maximum performance. Still I'm very happy for the fact that once again I was able to collect Finnish Rally Championship points and one fourth fastest special stage time, Eskelinen thought.

Next two months Finnish Rally Championship is on spring leave. Fifth and first gravel round is to be driven in May at the region of Hämeenlinna. At the moment Eskelinen doesn't know if he'll enter the rally due FIA GT3 negotiations which are currently underway.

Final results FTC O.K. Auto rally, Kouvola 5.3.2011, SM1-Group:
1. Juha Salo & Marko Salminen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS, 42:47,5
2. Matti Rantanen & Mikko Lukka, Peugeot 207 S2000, +9,1sec
3. Jarkko Nikara & Petri Nikara, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, +11,5sec
10. Mikko Eskelinen & Arto Kapanen, +2:48,0sec

13.4.2011 - Mikko Eskelinen enters his second season in FIA GT3 European Championship series - Finnish Racing Champion challenges top drivers

Highslide JS Double Finnish Racing Champion and reigning Finnish Suomi Cup Rally Champion, Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, 38, drives for a title of FIA GT3 European Champion in summer 2011.

Eskelinen competes his second FIA GT3 European Championship series season with german Fischer Racing and its' Ford GT3 car. He shares the steering wheel with one of the fastest driver of the series, danish Christoffer Nygaard, who he also drove a year ago.

- My debut season in FIA GT3 European Championship series gave me 9th position in overall classifications and seven top-8 finish in 12 rounds. For me it tells that my speed is ok when also comparing it to international racing arenas. I'm happy that highly appreciated german Fischer Racing team gave faith in me and offered a contract which I couldn't deny, Eskelinen tells.

- Our goal is to drive top-5 positions in each event. If we success with it we could also be driving for medals. A year ago I collect lots of experience as a novice driver and in this year I will utilize the experience so that I could be in same speed from the first event on which I was in last Autumn, highly motivated Eskelinen continues.

In six race weekends and its' 12 starts Eskelinen drives for success with over 30 rival teams. Almost all season 2010 drivers and teams are participating the series this year and furthermore few new teams, drivers and also cars are to be introduced before the season starts. Eskelinen predicts lots of action and good races in season 2011.

- A year ago I learned how important role a millisecond has in this sport. It's unbelievable how competitors drive 5 kilometre circuit within one second and how a very wide circuit gets very narrow when over 30 cars and drivers measures their speed among each others. FIA GT3 European Championship series is a true motorsport, Eskelinen knows.

- Last year I finished 9th position in overall classifications and I also was best Finn in the series. The result didn't came by an easy driving and I believe that in this season it won't be any easier. I will do anything to gain our goals, Finnish Racing Champion continues.

Besides Eskelinen, some other Finn drivers will also enter FIA GT3 European Championship series.

FIA GT3 European Championship race weekends (a' 2 events / each weekend)
- 06-08.05.2011 - Algarve (Portugal)
- 03-05.06.2011 - Silverstone (Great Britain)
- 01-03.07.2011 - Navarra (Spain)
- 14-17.07.2011 - Paul Richard (France)
- 18-21.08.2011 - Smolenskring (Ukraine)
- 13-16.10.2011 - Zandvoort (Belgium)

7.5.2011 - Mikko Eskelinen had a dream start in first round of the series - 7th position was an excellent result

Highslide JS Double Racing Finnish Champion Mikko Eskelinen, 38, showed his best talent behind the steering wheel of GT3 racing car in first round of FIA GT3 European Championship series which was driven in Algarve, Portugal. Flying Finn and his danish co-driver Christoffer Nygaard start the event in 18th grid and after one hour of intense driving they arrived to chequerred flag in 7th position. Fischer Racing team drivers were also fastest drivers who compete with "old" car model.

After dissapointing qualifying Finn took a perfect start and when arriving to first corner he had passed nine (9) drivers. Even hard attack and defending the achieved position was shown in lack of grip Eskelinen was able to bring the car to drivers change in excellent position. He was especially happy for the fact that for whole of his driving time he was able to match his speed against silver position driver Csaba Walter.

- I had a dream start which is not seen in movies. When we entered to first corner I could have been able to pass few more drivers but the risk of having a collision was too hard. Perfect start and nearly a faultless driving turn gave me one of the best-ever driving performance I've ever made, Eskelinen told.

- Now after the race when reviewing the results my speed with better luck would have given us second position. Maybe tomorrow then, Eskelinen hopes.

After 26 minutes driving time Eskelinen came to pit and gave steering wheel to his fellow team mate Christoffer Nygaard who was able to rise into fifth position. However 20 minutes before the end of the race second gear broke up in transmission and it was shown in Nygaards' speed. Also two competitors were able to pass him and therefore Fischer Racing drivers took seventh position in first round of FIA GT3 European Championship series. First Championship points of the series were also more than team could hope for from the event.

- Once again Christoffer was in flames but unfortunaltey transmission problem slowed him so that two our fellow competitors passed him. Still seventh position is very, very good when considering the start position (18th grid), Eskelinen thought.

- Before the event serie organizator gave us 100kg of extra weight due Balance of Performance regulation. This regulation clearly gives advantage for the newcomers and when reviewing the result list we can notice that first six position was driven with new model cars which had minimum amount of extra weight. We were fastest old model competitors and it gives us lots of more boost for tomorrows' race, Finnish Racing Champion continues.

For tomorrows second round Fischer Racing team drivers start from seventh grid. Christoffer Nygaard starts racing and approximately 35minutes of driving he brings the car to pit for a drivers' change. Eskelinen continues for next 25 minutes and his strategy will be defending the position Nygaard had driven.

Final results FIA GT3 European Championship series, 1st round: Algarve, Portugal:
1. Edward Sandström/Abdulaziz Al Faisal, BMW Z4 GT3, 1:00:09.741
2. Csaba Walter/Claudia Hürtgen, BMW Z4 GT3, +16.927sec
3. Hoevert Vos/Jeroen den Boer, BMW Z4 GT3, +34.979sec
7. Mikko Eskelinen/Christoffer Nygaard, Ford GT, +51.573sec

8.5.2011 - Start engine failure forced Eskelinen to retire in second round of FIA GT3 Portugal

Highslide JS In first round of the FIA GT3 European Championship series Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, 38, made a hellowa start from 18th grid and finished the event in 7th position. In second round of the series he wasn't able to collect more Championship points as he was forced to retire the event due technical difficulties.

Danish team mate Christoffer Nygaard start second race from 7th position but in very confucing start he was forced to give up three positions and after 35 minutes of racing he brought german Fischer Racing team Ford GT car to drivers change in same position.

However when Eskelinen entered the cabin, buckled up and pressed engine start button, nothng happened. After mechanics made three minutes of work with the car the engine start up and Eskelinen was able to return to circuit in 21th position. Furthermore transmission problems caused Fischer Racing team manager to call Eskelinen back to pit and retire the event.

- After the perfect start and driving turn I once again sat to cabin with high motivation. After seating up and attaching seat belts I got a perission to start. However it was very unreal feeling when nothing happened when I pushed the start button. Adrenaline was pouring in my vains and I was set to go, but this time technical difficulties caused a hellowa dissapointment for me and us, Eskelinen tells.

- After mechanics gave few punches to start engine it started to roll and gave ignition to engine. Unfortunately due de-attaching and re-attaching the hoods caused so much time loss that when I returned to circuit I was one lap behind driver who was in 20th position. Because we had lost all changes for Championship points and also suffered gear change problems my team manager made a decision to retire the event, Eskelinen tells.

Best Finn of the event was Petri Lappalainen who was 9th fastest. FIA GT3 European Championship series continues in next four weeks at British Silverstone circuit. Before next two rounds Fischer Racing and its' drivers make test and developement for the car.

Despite dissapointing second round Eskelinen was satisfied for the start of the series.

- Fortunately we were able to collect points from the first round and we could show that our speed is enough to reach our top-5 goal. Furthermore new car models like BMW and Mercedez-Benz willl get lots of extra weight for their cars we believe to be much competitive in next round, Eskelinen tells.

- Now we analyze the mistakes and make homework before next round, Eskelinen plans.

Final results FIA GT3 EM-Portugal, 2nd event:
1. Enzo Ide/Greg Franchi, Audi R8 LMS, 1:01:02.610
2. Francesco Castellacci/Federico Leo, Ferrari 458 Italia, 0,691sec
3. Dominik Baumann/Brice Bosi, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, +11,385sec
9. Petri Lappalainen/Jan Heylen, Porsche 911 GT3 R, +34.953sec
retirement. Mikko Eskelinen/Christoffer Nygaard, Ford GT, technics

5.6.2011 - Zero points for Finns from GT3 European Championship British rounds - Eskelinen frustrated for his car competitiveness

Highslide JS 3rd and 4th round of FIA GT3 European Championship series were driven in British Silverstone circuit at first weekend of June. Despite hard effort all three Finnish drivers weren't able to collect any championship points from either rounds. In Saturday Mikko Eskelinen, Petri Lappalainen and Markus Palttala finished the events in positions which didn't provide them any Championship points. Sundays' race was a repeat from Saturdays' event as Fischer Racing Ford GT drivers Eskelinen and Palttala and Porsche driver Lappalainen couldn't match their speed for top drivers.

In one hour race drivers who measured their speed with new BMW Z4, Aston Martin DBRS 9 and Ferrari 458 Italia car models were approximately 2 seconds per a lap faster than Finns who drove with older car models. Even one of the fastest driver of the whole series, danish Christoffer Nygaard, who is a team mate for Mikko Eskelinen, was having major difficulties to stay in top-10 position. Eskelinen knows what the problem is and what to do for picking up the speed and improve competitiveness of Fischer Racing Ford GT car before next round.

- Saturdays' race was a dissapointment because transmission problem reduced our speed. In Sunday me and my team-mate Christoffer Nygaard were both able to drive a clear runs and we were quite satisfied for our driving. However at the moment our car performance is not what our fellow competitors have with their new car models. A year ago here in Silverstone we were in second position and if we could have driven that race like we did today we could have won it. Now with a nearly perfect runs we finished the event in 15th position and lost approximately 2 seconds per lap for top-3 drivers. Please belive me this is a very frustrating situation, Eskelinen shared his dissapointment.

- At the moment we can only hope that the drivers who have been successfull with their new model cars in these four rounds would receive lots of extra weight and we could lose our extra 75kg. This would balance the situation and we could be a even one step closer for top drivers in next Spanish rounds. Ofcourse we have to develope our the car performance or the results of forthcoming races isn't going to be nice to watch, Eskelinen knows.

Double-time Finnish Racing and Suomi Cup rally Champion Mikko Eskelinen has to deal his dissapointment in a short period time because in next Saturday he enters behind the steering wheel of 4WD turbocharged Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS rally car and measures his speed in sixth round of Finnish Rally Championship series.

- 16th and 15th positions from GT3 Silverstone were everything else we tried to score from the weekend. After a deep dissapointment now it's very pleasant to forget GT3 European Championship series for a while and start enjoying gravel rallying. In Wednesday I shake my wrists in a test stage and in Saturday I try to fullfill my goals to finish the event in top-10, Eskelinen believes.

Final results FIA GT3 European Championship series, 3rd round: Silverstone, England
1. Federico Leo & Francesco Castellacci, Ferrari 458 Italia, 1:00:40.783
2. Gael Lesoudier & Maxime Martin, Aston Martin DBRS 9, +10.433sec
3. Philippe Giauque & Mike Parisy, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, +14.187sec
16. Mikko Eskelinen & Christoffer Nygaard, Ford GT, +57.027sec
17. Petri Lappalainen & Jan Heylen, Porsche 911 GT3 R, +57.606sec
23. Markus Palttala & Stephane Lemeret, Ford GT, +1:34.0sec

Final results FIA GT3 European Championship series, 4th round: Silverstone, England
1. Hoevert Vos & Jeroen den Boer, BMW Z4 GT3, 1:00:57.286
2. Harrie Kolen & Nicky Catsburg, BMW Z4 GT3, +1.095sec
3. Gael Lesoudier & Maxime Martin, Aston Martin DBRS 9, +5.420sec
4. Daniel Brown & Glynn Geddie, Ferrari 458 Italia, +11.018sec
5. Federico Le & Francesco Castellacci, Ferrari 458 Italia, +16.718sec
14. Petri Lappalainen & Jan Heylen, Porsche 911 GT3 R, +47.195sec
15. Mikko Eskelinen & Christoffer Nygaard, Ford GT, +57.279sec
kesk. Markus Palttala & Stephane Lemeret, Ford GT

11.6.2011 - Mikko Eskelinen struggled with braking points in FRC Lapua Rally - 8th position OK, gap for top drivers isn't

Highslide JS A week ago Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, age of 38, experienced a huge dissapointment in FIA GT3 European Championship series Silverstone round. Now he continued his busy summer in sixth round of Finnish Rally Championship series which was driven in the region of Lapua. Despite Eskelinen struggled with correct braking points he was able to achieve his goals and once again collect Championship points. Still eight position in overall standings was a bit of a dissapointment for Finnish double-time Racing and reigning Suomi Cup Rally Champion.

FRC Lapua rally included four special stages and approximately 100 special stage kilometres. The rally was a complitely new challange for Eskelinen as the stages were very different in their nature. In a rally which was driven in a very hot +32c weather drivers faced problems with a heavy dust in fast-paced and top-speed sections and surprise tight corners in the middle of fields. Rally organizers had also included few top-speed tarmac sections.

Eskelinen, who drove with PrintSport Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS rally car start the rally with high hopes. However he struggled with incorrect braking points which took out of his confidence. Also in first special stage Eskelinen and his co-driver Arto Kapanen missed one junction and had a extra meters in a field. Eskelinen wasn't happy for his performance and was very dissapointed his driving as the gap for winner was streched into two minutes.

- In FRC Lapua rally I lost lots of time in tight corners and junctions. When braking from approximately 200kms/h of speed into one or second gear corner and which is followed by 200-300 meters of straight section the braking point has to be exact. As in first stage I missed few braking points and had a extra loop in a field I lost all confidence for the driving, told dissapointed Eskelinen.

- Eight position is a positive result but the gap for top drivers is too much. I could be smiling if I could have driven the eight position instead of receiving it as a gift, explained Eskelinen after dramatic retirements of his fellow competitors.

FRC Lapua rally was won by Ari Vihavainen, who was in third position before final stage. Vihavainen received a early Christmas gift as reigning multiple Champion Juha Salo was forced to retire due complite fire of his rally car and rally leader Matti Rantanen retired the event due fuel tank leak.

Final round of the series is to be driven in September in surroundings of Kerava. Before that event Eskelinen measures his speed in FIA GT3 European Championship Spanish, French and Unkraine events aswell as in gravel grand prix WRC Finland.

- Next round for me is FIA GT3 Spain which is to be driven in first weekend of July. Now I spend some holiday with my family and start focusing for forthcoming events like World Rally Championship Finnish round, Eskelinen plans.

Final results FRC Lapua rally June 11th: SM1-grou:
1. Ari Vihavainen & Antti Piira, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS, 48:40,0
2. Joonas Lindroos & Pasi Kilpeläinen, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, +5,3sec
3. Riku Tahko & Markus Soininen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS; +9,8sec
8. Mikko Eskelinen & Arto Kapanen, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS, +2:02,3sec

3.7.2011 - All Finns were left without points from FIA GT3 Spain - Eskelinen tackled with technical difficulties

Highslide JSFifth and sixth round of FIA GT3 European Championship series was driven in Spanish Navarra circuit. In races which were driven in intense heat the Flying Finns Mikko Eskelinen and Petri Lappalainen weren't able to collect any Championship points.

In fifth round Eskelinen was stopped by an engine failure and in sixth race he finished the event in 15th position. Also Lappalainen wasn't able to collect points as he finished the events in 12th and 11th positions. Both drivers were very dissapointed for their performance.

For sixth round Eskelinen and his team-mate danish Christoffer Nygaard supposed to start from 19th grid. However the race jury decided to drop Fischer Racing drivers to back row because of the engine change they were forced to do due fifth race engine failure. Therefore hopes for point positions were ruled out before the event got underway.

During the one hour race Nygaard picked six and Eskelinen two positions. However 15th position wasn't the result Fischer Racing and its' drivers were set. Mikko and Christoffer were deeply dissapointed.

- Spare engine didn't provide us as much power as the actual race engine did and therefore we were pretty slow today. First half of the season hasn't been what we had hoped for. We have had difficulties more than enough, told Eskelinen.

- Fifth round engine failure and jurys' decision to drop us to back row was a deep dissapointment for very frustrating weekend. Also due low-power spare engine and extra weights we were like tourists. I'm not laughing or not even smiling at all, told Eskelinen who is now in 17th position in overall standings.

Top positions in 59 points gap

In two spanish rounds there were six different drivers seen on the podium. Drivers who drove success in fifth round weren't able to step on to podium in sixth round. This result also balanced the battle for Championship title. However Finns aren't fighting for the title as Eskelinen and Lappalainen are keeping back row positions. Double-time Finnish Racing Champion and reigning Suomi Cup rally Champion Mikko Eskelinen knows that's the problem.

- Next round is to be driven in two weeks at French Paul Richard circuit. We're hoping to have reducement of extra weights for the event. Also FIA Balance of Performance isn't favor for us and therefore the drivers who compete with new car models keep passing us in each events. Let's hope that FIA takes our extra weights off and we could improve our speed by that way. We know that we can drive for top positions but to make it happen we have to have help from the serie organizator, Eskelinen tells.

Final results FIA GT3 5th round: Navarra, Spain: Top-5
1. Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof & Albert von Thurn und Taxis, Lamborghini Gallardo LP560, 01:01:12
2. Francesco Castellacci & Federico Leo, Ferrari 458 Italia, +2.768sec
3. Edward Sandström & Abdulaziz Al Faisal Al Faisal, BMW Z4 GT3, +24.105sec
12. Petri Lappalainen & Jan Heylen, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1,14,323sec
kesk. Mikko Eskelinen & Christoffer Nygaard, moottoririkko

Final results FIA GT3 6th round: Navarra, Spain: Top-5
1. Enzo Ide & Gregory Franchi, Audi Audi R8 LMS, 1:10:324
2. Harrie Kolen & Nick Catsburg, BMW Z4 GT3, +0.801sec
3. Giauque & Parisy, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, +9.637sec
11. Petri Lappalainen & Jan Heylen, Porsche 911 GT3 R, +32.700sec
15. Mikko Eskelinen & Christoffer Nygaard, Ford GT, +1.11.200sec

17.7.2011 - Mikko Eskelisen struggled with broken drive shaft in FIA GT3 Paul Richard

Highslide JS In Friday Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen celebrated his 39th Birthday but wasn't able to get a Birthday present he had hoped for in 7th and 8th round of FIA GT3 European Championship series. A year ago Eskelinen made his debut run and finished the serie in 9th position but in this year he's suffering Fischer Racing Ford GT car techical problems. This time a broken drive shaft forced Eskelinen and his co-driver Christoffer Nygaard to retire the event.

Eskelinen was understandably very dissapointed because he wasn't able to drive not a single meter in todays 8th round. Yesterdays' one point was a small confort for the deep dissapointment weekend.

- My team mate Christoffer Nygaard had a perfect start from 20th grid and was able, once again, to do superb job behind the steering wheel. After approx 30mins of racing he delivered the car to me in 7th position and when I entered the cabin, buckled up, start the car and push throttle the car didn't move forward. Drive shaft was cut broken just before Nygaard entered the pit, Eskelinen summoned.

- This was third time in eight round that I wasn't able to get to the circuit due technical problem. There were lots of valuable Championship points being delivered to us but drive shaft decided otherwise. It's very frustrating to live this moment and view how things aren't going as they should have go, Eskelinen continued.

Gravel Grand Prix calls

Eskelinen cannot be in sorrow for a long time because on day after tomorrow he switches smooth tarmac into rollercoaster gravel special stages and tests PrintSport Racing turbocharged 4WD Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution rally car for WRC Rally Finland. Eskelinen measures his speed in a group of 41 other production car drivers.

- There are still four rounds to go in FIA GT3 European Championship series. Even there are still theoretical chances for us to reach podium positions we have to be realistic and it's game over for us. We would have to do a hellowa job in developing Ford GT car to match our speed for our rivals. I believe that in those four rounds the stakes are just own enjoyment and ofcourse to be fastest Finn in the series, Eskelinen plans.

- Despite a drive shaft failure we suffered in France I'm highly expecting WRC Rally Finland to start and to be able to measure my speed against other Production Car group drivers. A year ago I was rewarded with a best debytant trophy and that's a good position to improve the result, thought reigning Finnish Suomi Cup Rally Champion.

Final results FIA GT3 8th round: Paul Richard, France:
1. Paul van Splunteren & Maxime Soulet, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:00:29.036
2. Gael Lesoudier & Maxime Martin, Aston Martin DBRS 9, +9.668sec
3. Enzo Ide & Greg Franchi, Audi R8 LMS, +22.167sec
ret. Mikko Eskelinen & Christoffer Nygaard, Ford GT, broken drive shaft
ret. Petri Lappalainen & Jan Heylen, Porsche 911 GT3

25.7.2011 - Mikko Eskelinen haastaa MM-kuljettajat Suomen MM-rallissa

Highslide JSVuosi sitten Suomen MM-rallissa parhaimman ensikertalaisen palkinnon saavuttanut jyväskyläläinen Mikko Eskelinen, 39, starttaa kovin odotuksin torstaina käynnistyvään MM-kotikilpailuunsa. Rata-autoilun kaksinkertainen Suomenmestari ja ralliautoilun hallitseva Suomi Cup mestari hakee kolmipäiväisen kilpailun supererikoiskokeiden tuotantoautojen luokan pohja-aikoja sekä sijoittumista viiden nopeimman joukkoon.

PrintSport Racingin Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS ralliautolla huippukokeneen kartanlukija Arto Kapasen kanssa ajava Eskelinen saa vastaansa 41 kanssakilpailijaa kuten tuotantoautojen MM-sarjaa ajavat kuljettajat. Erinomaisella lähtöpaikalla MM-sarjan kovavauhtisimmassa rallissa ja sen 22 erikoiskokeella sekä 314 erikoiskoekilometrillä vauhtiaan mittaava rallimestari lupaa näyttää parasta osaamistaan.

– Lähtökohdat kilpailukauteni ehdottomaan kohokohtaan ovat enemmän kuin erinomaiset. Pääsen starttaamaan maailman nopeimmille erikoiskokeille välittömästi tuotantoautojen MM-sarjan kuljettajien jälkeen ja sitä kautta näkemään todellisen kilpailukykyni kansainvälisiä rallitähtiä vastaan, motivoitunut Eskelinen kertoo.

– Tavoitteeni on kaikin puolin ajaa virheetön ja myös teknisesti ongelmaton kilpailu sekä ennen kaikkea Jyväskylän ja Lahden yleisöerikoiskokeiden N-ryhmän pohja-ajat. Olen aina viihtynyt suuren yleisön edessä ja siksi tavoitteeni aina rallin lopputulosten viiden nopeimman tuotantoauton joukkoon ovat täysin realistiset, Eskelinen uskoo.

Kolme päivää vuoristorataa

61. kerran järjestettävä ja useasti koko MM-sarjan parhaimmaksi ralliksi palkittu kilpailu sisältää tänä vuonna niin perinteikkäitä jyvässeutumaisia erikoiskokeita kuin kokonaan täysin lähes kaikille kilpailijoille uusia pikataipaleita. Kilpailun erikoisuutena on perjantain kilpailupäivä, jossa kauimmaiset rallipolut ovat melkein Hyvinkäällä saakka. Eskelinen pitää perjantain kilpailupäivää vähintäänkin haastavana.

– Hereillä pitää olla heti torstain Lankamaan ja Laukaan erikoiskokeista lähtien, koska ennen päivän viimeistä eli Laajavuoren yleisöpyöritystä ratkeaa seuraavan päivän lähtöjärjestys. Perjantain Hassin vuoristorata mittaa rohkeutta ja muut Lahden ympäristössä ajettavat uudet pikataipaleet nopeuden lisäksi myös kestävyyttä. Pitkän kilpailupäivän aikana on vain yksi lyhyt välihuolto ja siksi on tärkeää pitää auto kaikin puolin ehjänä, Eskelinen mietiskelee.

– Pitkien siirtymien ja huoltojen välissä olevien runsaiden erikoiskoekilometrien takia tässä rallissa mitä tahansa voi sattua ennen kuin lauantai-iltana ruutulippu heilahtaa. Siksi on erityisen tärkeää muistaa, että ehdottoman nopeuskilpailun lisäksi Suomen MM-ralli on myös kestävyyskilpailu. Se kuka muistaa nämä kaksi faktaa eikä kärsi rengasrikkoa saatikka kolhi autoaan tulee olemaan korkealla tulosluettelossa, Eskelinen tietää.

Suomen MM-ralli starttaa torstaina iltapäivästä ja päättyy lauantai-illasta. Mikko Eskelinen ja Arto Kapanen kiidättävät Sorateiden Grand Prixissä PrintSport Racingin Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS ralliautoa numerolla 57.

31.7.2011 - Mikko Eskelinen showed his talent in Super Special stage of Rally Finland

Highslide JS Maybe the most appreciated rally of the season was driven in 61th time in surroundings of central Finland. Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, age of 39, drove his second-ever World Rally Championship event with 4WD turbocharged group-N PrintSport Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS rally car.

After three intense rally days, 22 special stages and 314 special stage kilometres Eskelinen and his highly experienced co-driver Arto Kapanen drove steady performance and finished the Gravel Grand Prix in group-N 7th position. Double Finnish Racing Champion and reigning Suomi Cup rally Champion also drove second fastest group-N special stage time in Super Special Stage of the rally.

Eskelinen and Kapanen was able to drive two trouble-free rally days. However in third and final day they suffered a broken drive shaft in landing of legendary Urria stage jump. Even Eskelinen was very satisfied for his speed and performance, 7th position in group-N and 28th position in overall classifications wasn't the positions he had hoped for. However he joyed that he was able to drive Leustu special stage by 40 seconds and Urria special stage by 12 seconds faster than a year ago.

– I have to be satisfied as I was able to see chequered flag in a very, very fast-paced and rollercoaster ride rally. Even group-N 7th position among 41 fellow competitors tastes like a bit dissapointment I'm very happy for my group-N second fastest time in Jokimaa super special stage. I also was able to see that in a year my speed has improved a lot as the special stage times were a lot better than season 2010 edition of Rally Finland, Eskelinen tells.

– I first day I seeked my speed and in second day I pushed hard. Even in third day I suffered drive shaft fault I was able to improve my speed from stage to another. Rally Finland was a good event for my speed, Eskelinen continued.

In current season Eskelinen drives Finnish Rally Championship and FIA GT3 European Racing Championship series. He knows the reason for his speed improveness.

– Double time Finnish Rally Champion Eero Räikkönen and his PrintSport Racing team has made lots of test and developement work for the rally car I used in the rally. He has been able to harnerss more power to the engine and the suspension worked very well for the whole rally, Eskelinen knows.

– I also would like to give big thanks for the superb job for the whole PrintSport Racing mechanics. In every service they fixed the car in perfect condition after I had broke it up. Furthermore my co-driver Arto Kapanen made once again perfect job, continued Eskelinen who received a superb experience.

Less transit sections in further events

In legendary Rally Finland Sebastien Loeb, Jari-Matti Latvala and Sebastien Ogier drove an intense fight in traditional and also in new Southern special stages. Eskelinen didn't like the huge transit sections which all drivers were forced to do in second day.

– Even the special stages in surroundings of Lahti were very challenging I believe those stages are belong to complete another rally. It was absolutely boring to drive long transit sections and therefore I really hope that in next year the organizators include less transit section kilometres. For example in surroundings of Kuhmoinen, Toivakka and Luhanka there are lots of better stages than in Lahti. I also would like to drive the legendary Ouninpohja stage, share Eskelinen his hopes for rally organizators.

After colorful events Lithuan Andis Neiksans won group-N before fastest PWRC driver Hayden Paddon. Third fastest was another Flying Finn Jarkko Nikara.

Next and final round of Finnish Rally Championship is to be driven in third weekend of September. Before that event Eskelinen gets back go tarmac surface and drives for European Championship points in GT3 Bratislava.

Rally Finland group-N final results:
1. Andis Neiksans & Peteris Dzirkals, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, 2:51:37.9
2. Hayden Paddon & John Kennard, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, 2:51:57.2
3. Jarkko Nikara & Petri Nikara, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, 2:52:37.4
7. Mikko Eskelinen & Arto Kapanen, PrintSport Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS, 2:57:01.1

16.8.2011 - Fischer Racing heads east to Slovakia - Inaugural race of the GT3 European Championship at Slovakiaring

Highslide JSFischer Racing heads eastbound this weekend and will race for the first time with the two Ford GT at the Slovakiaring near Bratislava/Slovakia at the fifth round of the 2011 FIA GT3 European Championship. The two Fischer Racing-Ford GT will be driven be the regular drivers Mikko Eskelinen (FIN) and Christoffer Nygaard (DNK), while Markus Palttala (FIN) is joined in the second Ford by Czech hot-shoe Martin Matzke.

The 5,9 km long Slovakiaring, which is one of the longest racetracks in Europe and was opened in 2008, is an unknown territory for almost all teams and drivers. It¹s the first time this weekend, that a major international sportscar series visits the Slovakiaring. The race in Slovakia marks the penultimate round of the 2011 FIA GT3 European Championship.

Beside the three familiar faces in the driver line up of Fischer Racing, one new driver will join the #13 Ford GT for the inaugural GT3-race in Slovakia. Young Czech hot-shoe Martin Matzke, a former race winner in the FIA GT3 European Championship, will join Fischer Racing for the fifth round of the 2011 season. Matzke is no stranger to the Ford GT: In the opening rounds of the 2011 GT1 World Championship, the 21-year young Matzke raced the GT1-version of the iconic Ford GT, the big brother of the GT3-machine.

³We haven¹t been at the Sloviakring yet and everybody in the team in really looking forward to it², Fischer Racing team principal Hardy Fischer says. ³New racetracks are always exciting and it¹s almost impossible to make any predictions. But at the last round in France, we showed a good performance in the races and the track in Slovakia should suit us a bit more, as it looks like a handling track. So I¹m cautiously optimistic that we are able to score a good result in our first visit to Slovakia. We also welcome Martin Matzke this weekend to our team, who forms a really strong team with Markus Palttala. We raced against Martin in the GT3 European Championship and also in the ADAC GT Masters and know how quick he is.²

21.8.2011 - Fischer Racing scores Top-10 finish in Slovakia - Nygaard/Eskelinen once again in the point ranks

Highslide JS Fischer Racing once again scored points in the penultimate round of the 2011 FIA GT3-European Championship. In the series first visit to the Slovakiaring near Bratislava, Mikko Eskelinen (FIN) and Christoffer Nygaard (DNK) scored a fine 8th place in the second race in the Fischer Racing Ford GT, while Martin Matzke (CZE) and Markus Palttala (FIN) finished 19th. In the first race, both Fischer Racing-Ford GT experienced bad luck.

The weekend in Slovakia didn¹t exactly start as planned for Fischer Racing in Saturday¹s first race. Mikko Eskelinen found himself in the gravel bed in the fifth lap, while Markus Palttala had to retire in the pits with a broken radiator at the very same time.

After so much disappointment, Sunday¹s second heat started much brighter. Christoffer Nygaard drove a strong opening stint, despite the fact, that he somehow lost his rear diffuser in the opening stages of the race. ³I didn¹t know what happened, because I didn¹t had a contact with someone. But now I know how important the diffuser is, I really could feel how I lost down force in the quick corners and drifted around.² Starting 12th, Nygaard battled up to sixth place until the mandatory driver change. In the latter part of the race, Mikko Eskelinen also had to struggle with the power steering, but still managed to bring the Ford GT to the chequered flag in 8th position, securing points for the third time this season. ³That was the Maximum what we could archive on this track today², Nygaard said. ³The track is really nice, but was obvious that we lacked power here due to the ³Balance of Performance².²

³The result for this weekend is o.k., even if it could have been better², Fischer Racing team principal Hardy Fischer commented after the race. ³We had bad luck in the first race and a not trouble free second race. But we made good pit stops, actually the second quickest of the entire race. But once again it was obvious, that we are in the meantime too much back with our Ford GT compared to the brand new 2011 cars. We hope for an urgent change in the ³Balance of Performance² of the car and hope more power. Then I¹m very confident that we have a fair chance to fight for the podium again.²

The GT3-European Championship makes now an almost two month break and is back with the final race mid of October in Zandvoort in the Netherlands.

10.9.2011 - Mikko Eskelinen drove two victories from Finnish Racing Championship series finals

After two years of absense from Finnish circuits the double time Racing Finnish Champion, Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, age of 39, made a perfect comeback and was fastest driver in two final events of NEZ GT.

In past two years Eskelinen has been measuring his speed in European Championship series with German Fischer Racing Ford GT. In first weekend of September he introduced the same car he has been using in European Championshipå series for Finnish spectators. After intense racing he was fastest in both starts by 5,516 seconds and 2,619 seconds before highly experienced Pertti Kuismanen.

Eskelinen was more than happy for trouble-free runs.

- We had a perfect weekend which was concluded by results we had set before the events. I had superb racing against Kuismanen and I'm very satisfied that I was able to keep him behind in both starts, Finnish Racing Champion told.

- It was very relaxing and very enjoyable to drive with a slow speed, twisty and narrower track than I've driven in past two seasons in European Championship series. On the otherhand the Ford GT was setup for fast-paced European Racing circuits and therefore it wasn't on its' best in Ahvenisto Circuit. However I was able to drove two victories and that is what all matters, Eskelinen continues.

In season 2011 Eskelinen has driven lots of rally and racing events. His 13th and final racing weekend in season 2011 is to be happened in the middle of October in Belgium Zandvoort circuit. Two starts are also the final events in season 2011 European Championship series.

Final results Citizen Race Weekend Start 1: NEZ-GT group: Top-5:
1. Mikko Eskelinen, Ford GT, 20:24
2. Pertti Kuismanen, Ford GT, +2.619sec
3. Toni Nieminen, BMW 850i, +34.977sec
4. Markku Hietamäki, Lamborghini Gallardo 520 GT3, +53.822sec
5. Janne Laitinen, Porsche GT 3 Cup, +54.329sec

Final results Citizen Race Weekend Start 1: NEZ-GT group: Top-5:
1. Mikko Eskelinen, Ford GT, 20:43
2. Pertti Kuismanen, Ford GT, +5,516sec
3. Jari Valtti, BMW M3 S38, +20.094sec
4. Toni Nieminen, BMW 850i, +36.844sec
5. Janne Laitinen, Porsche GT3 Cup, +40,020sec

12.10.2011 - GT3-season ends with a highlight in Holland - Premiere race of the FIA GT3-EC in Zandvoort

The 2011 season of the FIA GT3 European Championship ends in the Netherlands this weekend. For the first time, the championship will start at Zandvoort in the Netherlands. Fischer Racing hope to close the season on a high with the two Ford GT at the series first ever visit to the Dutch track, located directly at the north sea coast north of Amsterdam. For the final two races of the 2011 season, a driver new to Fischer Racing will share the Ford GT with experienced Finn Markus Palttala. Jesse Krohn from Finland will make his first step into GT-racing along his fellow countryman Palttala at Zandvoort, while the second Fischer Racing-Ford GT will be driven by regular drivers Mikko Eskelinen (FIN) and Christoffer Nygaard (DNK).

"We know the track in Zandvoort very well from the past, but this time we start there for the very first time with our two Ford GT", Fischer Racing team principal Hardy Fischer says. "At the end of the season, this event is an highlight. I hope it will also be a highlight for us. It would be nice to score another fine result before the winter break."

The Finnish-duo Palttala and young hot-shoe Jesse Krohn are looking forward to a strong result in their first common race. "My season in the FIA GT3-European Championship wasn't trouble free so far", says Palttala, who recently took momentum with a second consecutive victory in the Blancpain Endurance Series. "We had a lot of bad luck and desperately needed corrections to the 'Balance of Performance' of the Ford GT never came. But together with Jesse, I hope for a good result. He is a real talent and will race for the first time in a GT-car at Zandvoort. Our goal is to finish the season in the point ranks."

This is also the goal of Eskelinen und Nygaard. At the last round in Slovakia, the two Scandinavians scored points for the third time in the 2011 season and want to repeat that at the end of their second common season in the FIA GT3-European Championship.

Both races will be streamed live in the Internet on the series Website www.gt3europe.com . The races will also be broadcasted LIVE by Pan-European motorsports channel Motors TV.

15.10.2011 - Mikko Eskelinen had a heavy crash in FIA GT3 Zaanvoort - Season conlcuded due destruction of the car

In final round of FIA GT3 European Championship series, which was driven in Holland, the flying Mikko Eskelinen, 39, had a very fast crash as he lost the control of his Ford GT car and hit the concrete wall of Zaanvoort circuit.

Even Eskelinen experienced the most roughest crash of his long and successful career, he wasn't injured at all. However the damages for the car were so extensive that Eskelinen and his danish team mate Christoffer Nygaard were forced to end the season.

- In my qualifying run I drove one fast paced left corner with fifth gear, cut the corner a bit too much and lost the control of the car which jumpt a bit and rear side of the car lost the grip. Then there wasn't anything I could do as I was turned into passenger, told Eskelinen his experience.

- The data told that I hit the concrete wall with 218kms/h of speed. The car suffered heavy damages and therefore it's not possible to continue racing for the races. This means that my season ends here to this major dissapointment, Eskelinen continues.

Images from the event can be found at this address

15.12.2011 - Mikko Eskelinen had a difficult season 2011: Misfortunate FIA GT3 European Championship series

Highslide JS In season 2011 Flying Finn Mikko Eskelinen, age of 38, measured his speed in 19 events which he drove in Finnish Rally Championship series, in WRC Rally Finland and in FIA GT3 European Championship series.

In Finnish Rally Championship series season 2008 and 2009 Finnish Racing Champion and season 2010 Suomi Cup rally Champion drove five of seven rounds. During the season Eskelinen was able to improve his speed which gave him 11th position in overall classifications. In WRC Rally Finland he and his co-driver Arto Kapanen were 7th fastest in Group-N. Due FIA GT3 test work he was forced to skip two rounds and therefore he missed highly valued Championship points. 11th position doesn't tell the truth of his speed.

In FIA GT3 European Championship series Eskelinen and his team mate danish Christoffer Nygaard drove with german Fischer Racing Ford GT. However due fellow competitor team's new model cars Scandinavians weren't able to match fellow competitors their speed and therefore didn't reach their goals. Pointless results, technical retirements and other dissapointments made sure that Eskelinen and Nygaard weren't seen on podium.

Furthermore Eskelinen had his misfortunate season finale in Nedherlands where in penultimate round he experienced his careers' worst off. Fortunately after a very rough crash only car suffered damages.

In season 2011 Eskelinen was two times on podium as he was victorious in two final rounds of Finnish Racing Championship series which were driven on circuit of Ahvenisto.

– Five rally and seven long racing weekends was a rough experience. When test and developement work, PR-work for my sponsors and partners aswell as busy business schedule were added to 12 racing weeks I cannot thank enough my family for making it possible, Eskelinen shares his thoughts.

- In rallying I was able to improve my performance during the season. 7th position in Group-N of WRC Rally Finland was a good result. Furthermore second fastest drive in Toivakka rallysprint was a delightful result as I was able to drive faster than many more experienced and more successfull drivers. However FIA GT3 positions 7-16 weren't anything I seeked for but those were the best results we could do with old racing car as we tried to race against new and top model cars. And I end my season with a very high paced and my careers' worst crash. Fortunately two victories in Finnish Racing Championship series showed that I haven't lost my skills and I was able to stay on top positions. Season 2011 also showed that to be successfull in international motorsport arenas you need to have a competitive car under you, Eskelinen continued.

New season starts with rallying

Two months ago Eskelinen end his season 2011 by hitting a concrete wall in Nedherlands Zandvoort circuit. After heavy crash he's been focusing his thoughts for forthcoming season under hot Spanish sun. Golf and Enduro has been an excellent opposite to intense competition world and now Mikko is ready for action again. New season starts at the second weekend of January in an opening round of Finnish Rally Championship series which is to be driven in the region of Riihimäki. Also negotiations for GT3 European Championship series have begun.

– My sponsors and partners have shown green light for my season 2012 plans. My season starts by traditional way in Finnish Rally Championship series. In summer I'll again be measuring my speed in WRC Rally Finland and also in few other international rounds, shares Eskelinen his plans.

– Furthermore the negotiations for FIA GT3 European Championship have also begun. Basis for negotiations is to drive with top car and make sure that I'll have best possible positions to drive for success. I also would like to continue my co-operation with german Fischer Racing but it would require an investment for new and competitive car, double-time Finnish Racing Champion continues.

Mikko Eskelinen in season 2011 results:

- 27-28.01.2011 Arctic Lapland Rally #1, Rovaniemi 15th
- 29-30.01.2011 Arctic Lapland Rally #2, Rovaniemi 10th
- 18-19.02.2011 SM Vaakuna Rally, Mikkeli 9th
- 04-05.03.2011 SM O.K. Auto rally, Kouvola 10th
- 10-11.06.2011 POP-Pankki SM-rally, Lapua 8th
- 29-31.07.2011 WRC Rally Finland, Jyväskylä 7th (group-N)

FIA GT3 European Championship series:
- 06-08.05.2011 FIA GT3 Algarve, Portugal 7th and retirement
- 03-05.06.2011 FIA GT3 Silverstone, England 16th and 15th
- 01-03.07.2011 FIA GT3 Navarra, Spain retirement and 15th
- 14-17.07.2011 FIA GT3 Paul Richard, France 10th and retirement
- 18-21.08.2011 FIA GT3 Slovakiaring, Slovakia retirement and 8th
- 13-16.10.2011 FIA GT3 Zandvoort, Hollanti retirement

Finnish Racing Championship series:
- 09-10.09.2011 FRC Finals, Ahvenisto 1st and 1st
Mikko Eskelisen kotisivut on suunnitellut ja toteuttanut MediaGuru Jack Bacon - Digitaalisen median tuotantostudio - www.mediaguru.fi