Rally Estonia will stay in the World Rally Championship for at least another two years after announcing it has secured a slot in the 2022 WRC calendar. Estonia was already scheduled to host a WRC round this year following the success of its debut appearance in 2020.
Last year’s event, which was won by local heroes Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja, restarted the WRC’s season following its coronavirus enforced break.
“The performance of last year was one key aspect for our decision,” said WRC Promoter’s Managing Director Jona Siebel.
“The second factor is the passion, especially of the Estonian WRC fans. At the end of the day, it is all about commitment and our understanding is that the whole of Estonia is committed: the government, the organising team, the fans.
“Two years is a clear signal from the FIA and the WRC Promoter that it fits.”
The Baltic state held promotional events in 2018 and 2019 with aspirations of becoming a fully-fledged WRC event. Those hopes looked to have vanished last February when the 2020 event was cancelled because of problems with funding.
Then, in July the WRC announced Estonia would restart its 2020 season as it sought after events capable of running in a Covid-safe environment.
FIA Rally Director, Yves Matton, commended Estonia’s long-term commitment to rallying during Wednesday’s press conference.
“It is now since 2010 that they are involved in rallying, trying to achieve high-level events.
“They were part of the European Championship, after that, they had a very good promotional event where all of the manufacturers were involved.
“In 2020 with special circumstances they were able to have a WRC event. They showcased that they have the level to come and bring new ideas and a fresh approach.
“That convinced us, the promoter, and all of the stakeholders that this event has the level to join the calendar for the next two years.
“I have to congratulate the Estonians for the job they did to achieve this.”
Rally Estonia is set to host its second WRC event on 15-18 July this year. With significantly more time to plan the rally this time around, its director Urmo Aava is aiming for further improvements.
“When we started to dream about this 10 years ago it was an incredible dream, an impossible one.
“But how did we make it here?
“As it was said: every year, every day we want it to be better than before. I dare to say that together we will be better in all aspects.
“It sounds very much like Estonian grumpiness, that we haven’t done enough but when I look back at 2020 we did very well, we couldn’t do better at that time.
“But of course, we can do better next year.
“We Estonians don’t have a problem with motivation, we want to be the best.
“A small country, a small nation needs to be the best to make it in the world. This is written in our DNA.”
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Photo courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool