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Fourteen years after he last co-drove for Tommi Makinen, 47 year old Kaj Lindstrom is to compete in Makinen’s Toyota Gazoo team, this time as co-driver for Juho Hanninen, whose position as WRC team driver was officially confirmed yesterday.  

Juho Hanninen (right) and Kaj Lindstrom will team up for Toyota Gazoo Racing next year.This programme will start at Monte Carlo 2017, when Lindstrom is due to make his 100th start in a WRC event.   Lindstrom’s appointment was further evidence of the growing Finnish influence in the Gazoo team.   

Lindstrom became Makinen’s co-driver after previous co-driver, Risto Mannisenmaki, was injured and retired from professional rallying at the end of 2001, and together they won Monte Carlo on Makinen’s debut drive for Subaru.  That was to be Lindstrom’s only, and Makinen’s final, WRC win.  

Lindstrom’s vast rallying experience includes working with Renault, Ford, Subaru, Mitsubishi and also with Citroen, with whom he was paired with Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen.   

He has not rallied with Hanninen before, and has been absent from the WRC for a year.  

Hanninen has only appeared once in the WRC in the past two years, but earlier had rallied for Hyundai, Ford, and most impressively, for four seasons with Skoda.  He has been Gazoo’s principle WRC test driver.   

At Skoda he gained three major titles, the IRC in 2010, the Super 2000 WRC in 2011, and the European championship in 2012.  Hanninen’s contract with Gazoo is for one season with a future option.
 
- Martin Holmes

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