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      Mannisenmaki, Risto
        Risto's WRC starts
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  Home > People > Co-drivers > K to O > Mannisenmaki, Risto
Risto Mannisenmaki
With co-drivers, age is not as important consideration as with drivers and it is curious to note that though Risto and Juha Kankkunen were born at almost same time, Risto began his motorsport career when Juha was already doing WRC events. And when Kankkunen won his first world title in 1986, Risto had only found his first dedicated driver for national series.

Interesting co-incidence is that when Tommi Makinen had a need for a co-driver in 1000 Lakes of 1988, he chanced to meet Risto. He had no programme for the event though was driving national series with Johnny Sandsgards so Tommi asked if Risto was interested. Risto was and pair did the event but their co-operation lasted only that one rally.

Later Risto paired with Sebastian Lindholm, who later became multiple finnish rally champion. At that time he still had a job and co-driving was only time-consuming hobby. Job had to go when Risto moved to navigate in ERC events for young Janne Vuopala.

After Vuopala came Mika Sohlberg and finally the big break in form of Tapio Laukkanen. Early on pair drove mainly national events with Volkswagen but soon moved to BRC where lack of team's resources was constant problem. Rescue came from Renault and soon pair had a programme for BRC plus selected WRC events for 1997 season.

Interestingly, the comparison between Juha and Risto at the start of this article is not from thin air. They did not have contact before 1996 but that year Juha needed stand-in co-driver to a national rally as test event before 1000 Lakes. Risto was chosen and later said that it was incredible experience to learn from world class driver.

Australia 1997 marked the last big change, though Risto did not know that yet. Makinen's long-time co-driver Seppo Harjanne had decided to retire and Tommi asked his one-time co-driver if he would be interested. Again Risto was and rest is history. With limited experience from WRC events and sitting on limelight beside double world champion Risto knew he would take big risk but it worked.

He inherited several boxes full of Seppo's notes and in most cases those were used as they were, Risto had no time and Tommi no wish to make completely new notes. 1998 was a season of psychological rollercoaster but five wins and championship title proved that Risto could do the job Tommi hired him to do. More of the same followed in 1999 but then on pace slowed. Until Corsica 2001 when Tommi hit a mountain face with new Lancer WRC and Risto was badly hurt.

WRC starts:68
first: Finland 1982
latest: Great Britain 2003
Risto Mannisenmaki
Nationality: Finland
Birthday: 28-May-1959