Rally size Hannu Mikkola is dead.

It was confirmed from Mikkola's family that he died over the weekend at the age of 78, exhausted by cancer.

World Rally Champion 1985 Timo Salonen was a long-time friend and colleague of Mikkola.

Salonen, 69, heard about the grief news on Friday.

- It was known that Hannu was sick, but it always bumps when the guy leaves, Salonen told Ilta-Sanomat with a broken voice.

Mikkola was a pioneer in rally driving and a pioneer in the world for other Finnish rally drivers.

- That's exactly how it is, Salonen sighs.

- Hannu saw and drove everything as a rally man.

When the car was in good condition and hit the right place anyway, he won, Salonen describes.

Mikkola and Salonen drove as teammates in Mazda in the late 1980s, but they were friends anyway.

- We were together with Hannu a lot.

Among other things, we had a common helicopter hobby, Salonen says.

- We rallied together for twenty years.

Salonen followed Mikkola's career even when he had not yet broken into the top himself.

- I had the rally in my blood and Hannu was followed.

Salonen last met Mikkola about two years ago.

- I went to see Hannu then, but since then this corona situation has been on.

Then he has no longer been able to go.

- We've talked on the phone, but it's probably been a year since last time.

At that time, he already had a slightly weak voice, Salonen thinks.

Salonen sends his emotional condolences on the departure of Hannu Mikkola.

- My deepest condolences to Hannu's relatives, family and loved ones.