Features World Rally Championship

The man behind the lens of WRC’s breathtaking photos

Estonia is the World Rally Championship’s current champion country. Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja reigned victorious in dominant fashion last year but there was another Estonian capturing the story round-by-round through his perfect portfolio of WRC photos.

Jaanus Ree has been present with his camera at every WRC event since mid-way through the 2014 season. Providing pictures for Red Bull’s Content Pool, his images are perhaps the most prominent in world rallying.

Ree’s photography journey started by taking shots of windsurfers in Estonia.

“At first it was a hobby,” admitted Ree. “But after an injury, I started to send competition photos of windsurfers to the press in Estonia and that’s when it all started.

“A year later I went to study photography at university.”

The 34-year-old has packed a lot into his young career since his first WRC trip to Rally Spain in 2013. Few sports offer the range of landscapes presented by the WRC. The muddy forests of Wales, the mountains of Mexico, and the coastlines of Corsica. A photographer’s dream.

“It’s stunning, all the sceneries are so different and they all have something mystical in them.

“I just love hiking mountains to have a wide view on all of the landscapes.

“Once in Argentina, I did a five-hour hike just to have an interesting angle.”

The home and office comforts from which Ree’s stunning photos are viewed is a stark contrast to the testing terrain that so often needs to be accomplished before the photographer can put his camera to use.

Pre-dawn alarms and midday climbs with burdening bags of flashes and tripods. An awesome adventure and certainly no longer a tranquil hobby.

But what is the biggest challenge?

“Logistics…

“It’s a challenge to try to get all the necessary photos for my employer and also show the rally through my own personal vision.”

When asked for his favourite event, Ree was stumped. They all have their own unique landscapes and atmospheres. But one location stood out in his memory.

“The hairpins on Rally Monte Carlo’s second stage this year.

“There were a crazy amount of people with flares and fireworks. Even Santa Claus was there!”

Photos by Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

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