Finland’s former world rally champion Hannu Mikkola died on Saturday at the age of 78.

“Hannu Mikkola, the 1983 world champion and one of Finland’s great rally names has died,” world motorsports governing body FIA said in a statement.

Extending condolences to his family and friends, FIA President Jean Todt said Mikkola was “a legendary driver and a lifelong friend”.

Meanwhile, Mikkola’s son Vesa Mikkola revealed on Twitter that his father died of cancer.

“Most knew him as a rallying great who ushered in the golden years of the sport. To me he was dad – and an incredible one at that. Always supportive, loving and genuine. Also a loving grandfather to my two boys. Rest In Peace Dad,” he added.

Mikkola clinched the World Rally Championship title in 1983. He was also a seven-time 1000 Lakes Rally winner in Finland and won four RAC rallies held in the UK.

In 2003, the RAC Rally was renamed Wales Rally GB.

In a special ceremony in 2019, FIA honored Mikkola, inducting the Finnish legend to the Hall of Fame.

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