Ari Vatanen

Passion for car racing

In 1960 my father bought a car and had an accident a few months later. My father died, but the rest of the family survived. I was 8 years old. Four years later my mother bought a car that I tried out on a small, quiet road to find out how I could control gliding through the bends. That summer a rally was held in our village. I was waiting at the roadside four hours before the start so I wouldn’t miss anything.

One of the biggest moments of my career was my victory at the Monte Carlo rally, even though I was given an eight minute penalty. Everybody experiences success and defeat, but we learn the most important lessons during the difficult times. At the time of the accident you have a difficult time and ask questions. But eventually, sometimes years later, everything becomes clear. You realise that God is in control over everything. Even when you can”t explain everything!

The accident in 1985 and the 18 months I wasn’t able to drive were very difficult for me. When I started to recover, I started to suffer from a severe depression. With hindsight I see that I came through this ordeal as a better person. It made me less critical, more tolerant and it gave me a broad view on life.

From my father I inherited a free and open approach to the Christian life. The most important things are not our emotions or our habits, but the most important thing is what happened two thousand years ago on a hill near Jerusalem. You can hold on to the dead and resurrection of Jesus. This remains true no matter our background or circumstances.

The most unbelievable fact of Christianity is that God accepts us the way we are, as unique human beings. Only Jesus is holy. And even though nobody of us is holy and everybody sins, He accepts us. We can turn to God and say to Him: “Lord, forgive me, take me as I am” and He will do that. No matter how we’ve lived and what we’ve done. We need His grace constantly.

Paul the apostle says in Romans 3:23-24: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” .

I want my life to testify about my faith. When I experience the presence of God in the midst of the storms of life, my words will be credible.

“He who does not love me will not obey my teachings. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 14:24.

Ari Vatanen


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