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Hard-core rally fans will remember the name Juuso Pykälistö, a Finn who was a test driver for the all-conquering Peugeot team in the early 2000s. In 2002 and 2003 he contested six rounds of the WRC in each of those seasons, and in 2005 he achieved his finest WRC result when he finished eighth in Italy in a Citroen Xsara WRC.
Pykälistö turns 45 today (May 21), but these days rallying is one of the furthest things from his mind.
After his rally career ended, Pykälistö trained as a helicopter pilot, and for the past four years he has been flying a medical helicopter in his home country. "There was no longer any chance to continue (rallying) when there was no money in my sack," he said recently.

Juuso Pykalisto (left) signs on as a Peugeot test driver in 2002. He's congratulated by Marcus Gronholm and team boss Corrado Provera. Photo: Martin Holmes

In his life as a chopper pilot he's flown a filming chopper for the Finnish Rally Championship, but his day job is now as a medical pilot.
"Flying and rally driving are both a kind of risk management," he told a Finnish website.
"One big difference is that an accident is by no means acceptable in my current job, while rallies can sometimes come out, even if it is not looked at well there either." Pykälistö is still involved in rallying, however, and works on tarmac WRC rallies as M-Sport Ford driver Teemu Suninen's safety note driver, traversing the stages before the rally cars to pick up any changes in conditions. This, combined with his flying duties, ensures Pykälistö is never short on excitement! Happy 45th birthday Juuso Pykälistö.
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