Edited by Tim Murray, 01 October 2009 - 08:33.
Pentti Airikkala has died
Posted 01 October 2009 - 08:23
Posted 01 October 2009 - 08:25
Posted 01 October 2009 - 08:33
I remember having dinner with Pentti and failing miserably to keep up with his intake of fluids, mainly because he ordered pints two at a time and drank with both hands ! And it didn't seem to have the slightest influence on his stories of the old days or his intelligent grasp of modern rallying and F1.
They really don't make 'em like that anymore.
Posted 01 October 2009 - 09:35
Yes indeed, a real character. I'm truly shocked and saddened by this news.
Posted 01 October 2009 - 09:39
Oh thats very sad. Great memories of Pentti giving it plenty in the DTV Chevettes in the 1970's. A very underrated driver.
Posted 01 October 2009 - 09:39
Posted 01 October 2009 - 09:48
Posted 01 October 2009 - 10:33
I've got a series of great photos of Pentti during that event, when we would meet up with Carlos and Colin at the stage starts you could see the respect and admiration everyone had for him.
Later in the year we went to the Finish Rally and Pentti made us very welcome there, he introduced us to Mikko's management and we went for a nice meal with them and met up at the stages for a laugh. It was great to then see him take to the wheel again at the Rally GB for one last time later that year. I last saw him at the motorsport show last year and he was wearing his usual big grin, he was a larger than life character and is a great loss to the Rally community.
RIP Pentti, one of the greats both as a driver and as a personality.
Posted 01 October 2009 - 10:56
His late-career RAC Rally victory was one of the last great giant-killings in modern motorsport. He will be missed.
Posted 01 October 2009 - 11:38
Pentti said he wanted to keep quiet about the whole thing, because people might look at him differently if they knew. Not surprising, considering he had no plans to give up rallying yet.
Posted 01 October 2009 - 11:47
There is a big DTV reunion in November - he will be sadly missed.
Posted 02 October 2009 - 09:22
Posted 02 October 2009 - 09:45
Posted 02 October 2009 - 10:42
I was lucky to work with him on a number of occasions and can confirm that he lived life to the full!!
I will never forget one year at the Pirelli Rally we arranged for him to take out customers on an old airport in one of the cars that had been modified in order for him to teach his " left foot braking " technique
Half way through the morning the car cried enough and we found a hire car for him to continue his passenger rides.
However I will never forget the look on the passengers faces in the back of car the first time he tried a handbrake turn…..Pentti hadn't noticed that the hire car was a Citroen Xantia and of course the handbrake locked the front wheels…..while the front of the car dug in the guests in the back of the car were lifted about five feet into the air
Posted 02 October 2009 - 10:45
A likeable colourful character, that memorable drive in the Galant on the RAC as very much the underdog.
rallying lacks cheerful , big personalities at present. He will be missed.
Edited by RTH, 02 October 2009 - 10:46.
Posted 02 October 2009 - 12:37
Posted 02 October 2009 - 12:43
Very sad news. Thoughts with his people now - yet another hero gone...but great memories will live on.
Truer words have never been uttered.
Posted 02 October 2009 - 12:52
Posted 02 October 2009 - 13:54
Celebrating that November evening in Nottingham in 1989, Pentti had stolen the Lombank RAC Rally with I think two stages to go from this legendary Spanish driver.......
.....Carlos Sainz. Tellingly, it was the very last RAC / Rally of Great Britain to be run without pace notes; a truly great drive from a truly great driver.
Posted 02 October 2009 - 13:58
Posted 02 October 2009 - 20:48
Very saddend to hear of Pentti's passing, he was certainly larger than life, and always made time to have a beer with the Army crews.
After the 1979 Scottish International in Avimore which Pentti had just won, a couple of us were having a few jars with Pentti, Roger (Clark) and Mick Jones, Rogers mechanic, and it was my round I asked them all what they wanted, and Pentti said he wanted a Gwince, I said a what??? he repeated, a Gwince and I said I have never heard of it, so he went to the bar with me and pointed to a pump and said that one, Gwince, it actually turned out to be a Guiness that he wanted!!!.
The picture on the front of the 1981 RAC rally programme shows Pentti with Risto Virtanan as many of us remember him, flat out in his chevette on the previous years RAC, which unfortunately, he did not finish.
Regards from France,
Posted 02 October 2009 - 20:53
I'll try and dig a couple of pics out over the weekend and post them here.
Posted 03 October 2009 - 02:43
Posted 03 October 2009 - 07:25
Posted 04 October 2009 - 08:48
Anyone unfamiliar with Pentti's ability should google the following: Pentti 1979 RNZ western springs Not many World Champions get passed around the outside, certainly not in a rally and none to my knowledge by someone riding the 'wall of death' !!
Posted 04 October 2009 - 10:26
Posted 05 October 2009 - 03:56
From Australia I grew up following that bunch Mikkola, Vattinen etc. in reports and later video's purchased from Duke Video and the moment of Pentti I rememebr best (aside from his crashes!) was when his Co driver vomited in stage and at service interview Pentti remarked "Unusual he has never had problem before but ve go on, a bit smelly, but ve go on!"
Posted 10 October 2009 - 18:05
I remember a headline in Autosport or Motoring News ' Pentti Gave it Plenty' . an apt epitaph.
Posted 13 October 2009 - 12:38
For the family of Pentti Airikkala and his many friends who
might wish pay their respects, the funeral will take place at
14:30 on Monday 19 October at the Chiltern Crematorium,
Whielden Lane, Amersham, Buckinghamshire HP7 0ND
(tel 01494 724263).
Flowers should be sent to: E Sargeant & Son, 61 St.
Leonards Road, Windsor, SL4 3BX before 11am on 19
Donations should be sent to Swan Life Line (a charity
which Pentti supported), or online at
Posted 13 October 2009 - 14:11