where the great rally driver and former Paris-North Cape patron Ari Vatanen learnt his trade provide the setting for today’s stage. Few of us are used to driving on tracks like these, so the organiser’s safety tips on the reflexes to adopt (and avoid!) are very welcome.
We spend the evening at a superb campsite near one of Philippe’s Sami friends, who allows us to luxuriate in what could well be the world’s most beautiful sauna, perched on a tiny island in an idyllic lake and reached by paddling across a sandy causeway that is mostly covered by water. We get up (those who had bothered to go to bed!) in the early hours of the morning to see the lake cloaked in a velvet blanket of mist through which only the tallest reeds emerge. This is one of the most ethereal spectacles of the trip and a wonderful challenge for our photographic skills.