Hans Laine

Born : April 25 1945
Deceased : May 30 1970

Biography Hans Laine

Hans Laine began his career in rallies, driving with his brother Henry as navigator. Despite driving mainly rear engined cars like Volkswagen and Porsche, he finished seventh driving a Datsun in the 1967 Acropolis Rally. In 1969, he nearly won the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland, before having to dropping out with transmission failure. At the time he was actually in front of Hannu Mikkola, who later became he multiple Rally World Champion and is considered by many to be the greatest rally driver of all time. That same year, Laine made his sportscar debut at the Nürburgring, driving a Porsche 906 with Sten Axelsson (SWE). They finished the ADAC 1000 km in 13th position.

Aarno Wihuri, the Volkswagen and Porsche importer for Finland, decided to enter endurance races in 1970, acquiring a Porsche 908/2 to be driven by a Finnish driver. His first choice was Leo Kinnunen, but he went to drive for John Wyer. Laine was thus given the drive and signed with AAW for the 1970 season.

Driving with Gijs van Lennep, Laine drove their Porsche 908/2 to an excellent fourth place in the wet at the April BOAC 500. The Brands Hatch circuit was a cold, rainy and windy place that day and Laine’s rally experience allowed him to shine. For the following World Sportscar Championship, at Monza, he drove a Porsche 917 for AAW. Then, like his countryrman Kinnunen, Laine drove magnificiently at the 1970 Targa Florio to earn another fourth place at the end of the race. After six years of racing, his career was now beginning to blossom.

AAW entered two cars for the ADAC 1000 km at the Nürburgring. Wihuri assigned his 917 to Toivonen and Axelsson; the 908/2, better suited for the Nordschleife, was given to Laine and van Lennep. The two latter put a great display in the qualifying session, scoring a time of 8min14s, which would be good enough for the eighth position in the starting grid. However, near the end of Saturday’s practice session disaster struck: with Laine at its wheel, the yellow and red Porsche 908/2 crashed at Dottinger Höhe straight after hitting the famous hump on the road near the bridge, the same spot where Henri Grandsire suffered a terrible accident two years earlier. Laine’s car got airborne, sumersaulted several times due to the lack of downforce and rolled trapping him in the car.

Laine was still alive as the marshalls and a fellow driver tried to extracte him from the Porsche. There was a fuel leak and tragically fire broke out. The marshalls took fifteen minutes to put the fire out by which time the young Finn had perished.