Juha Kankkunen, the Finnish four-time world rally champion, has broken a world speed record by driving at a speed of 205.48mph. But the astonishing thing about his speed was that it was done on ice, on the frozen waters of the Baltic Sea to be precise.
Kankkunen set the record for a speed on sheet ice in a Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible, and in doing so beat his own previous record of 199.83mph – posted in 2007.
“The last time, I narrowly missed the magical 200 mph mark in a Continental GT. When I heard about the Supersports I was determined to go record breaking again with the Bentley Boys,” said Kankkunen.
“200mph came up after 5km on sheet ice. Then it was just a question of getting everything right in the timing zone and hoping the snow kept away.”
The speeds were verified over a 1,000m strip, with two runs needed to set the new record. The track was 16.5km long in total, giving Kankkunen enough time to build up the speed on the slippery surface. As well as the lack of traction on the 70cm thick layer of ice, the team also had to deal with temperatures of minus 30 degrees, snow blizzards and crosswinds.
The car itself had little in the way of modifications with just Pirelli winter tyres, a roll cage, and a parachute to aid with braking in case something went wrong. It was also fuelled with Bioethanol rather than petrol.
We will be celebrating this achievement with a very special ‘extreme’ Bentley, which will be the most powerful model ever to bear the famed Winged B emblem,” said Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley’s chairman and chief executive.
Just 10 examples of this model will be made, and it will make its first appearance at the Geneva show, suggesting that Bentley might have had this in planning for some time and were rather confident in Juha’s abilities…