High-speed action awaits WRC drivers on Rally Estonia | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

High-speed action awaits WRC drivers on Rally Estonia

  • gb
08.07.22

All-gravel stages will challenge leading crews and their teams for the fourth FIA World Rally Championship event in a row as Rally Estonia gets set to host the WRC for the third time from July 14-17.

But while the previous round in Kenya took place on rocky, dusty tracks, Rally Estonia is all about super-smooth and super-fast roads with a generous helping of jumps and crests to boot.

Based in Tartu, Estonia’s oldest and second largest city, the competitive route takes crews across picture-perfect landscapes in the southeast of the country with the action set to be played out in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans.

Although home heroes Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja will attract the bulk of the attention, support is extended to all crews as they fly through the high-paced stages.

Rally Estonia is a perfect example of what can be achieved through unwavering ambition and determination. Following a three-year tenure as a round of the FIA European Rally Championship, which included capturing the best event of 2014 award, the organising team made no secret of its desire to elevate their event to FIA World Rally Championship status and set to work on bringing the WRC to the Baltics for the first time.

Led by former World Rally Car driver Urmo Aava, co-driver Silver Kütt and marketing expert Tarmo Hõbe, the organisers created a strong impression in 2019, attracting several top drivers and teams for their non-championship event.

Thereafter Rally Estonia was selected to host what would be the 600th event in the history of the FIA World Rally Championship in September 2020 as Estonia became the 33rd country to stage a WRC round, with Tänak taking his fourth victory on the rally and Järveoja scoring his third win on home soil.

Switching to a July date in 2021 – and to a full-scale itinerary following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions – this year’s Rally Estonia marks the halfway point of the 2022 WRC season and the seventh event of the new hybrid-based Rally1 era.

Pirelli, the WRC’s official tyre supplier, will provide its Scorpion KX soft and hard tyres for Rally Estonia. The soft compound is the first choice and is designed for cool and damp conditions, which can prevail in Estonian summertime, while the hard compound is for warm and dry weather. Teams running Rally1 cars can use a maximum of 28 tyres for the event including four for Shakedown.

 

THE 2022 ROUTE

The competitive action starts almost immediately on Rally Estonia with a 1.66-kilometre super special close to the service park, kicking off the event from 20:38 hrs local time on Thursday evening as the first of 24 stages. That follows morning shakedown in Abissaare and the ceremonial start, which relocates to the picturesque Tartu Town Hall Square for this year, from 18:30 hrs.

Friday’s route consists of four stages each run twice to the north and south of service in Tartu and includes the rally’s longest test, the 24.35-kilometre Peipsiääre run.

The famous Kekkose ski tracks return to the itinerary on Saturday as part of the 10.27-kilometre Mäeküla stage. It’s one of four repeated tests on the agenda along with the Otepää stage, which includes the famous Alaküla jump along its 17.08-kilometre layout. Saturday concludes with a repeat of Thursday’s superspecial from 19:08 hrs.

Sunday’s concluding leg begins with the Tartu Vald, one of three double-use stages run during the day. The 15.95-kilometre Kambja forms the event-deciding Power Stage when it’s re-run from 14:18 hrs. The stage finishes around the Leigo lakes, which are set to provide a spectacular backdrop to the event finale.

 

RALLY DATA

Stage distance: 313.84 km

Total distance: 1486.77 km

Number of stages: 24

 

RALLY1 CONTENDERS

Eleven crews are set to compete for Rally1 category honours in Estonia with last year’s winners and current FIA World Rally Championship leaders Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen heading the entry for Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT.

The Finns’ Estonia triumph in 2021 was their first at world level and meant Rovanperä became the youngest WRC event winner aged 20 years and 289 days. A repeat victory would mark their fifth this season and extend their advantage at the top of the provisional rankings, which stands at 65 points after six rounds.

Compatriots Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm return to the Toyota line-up in Estonia and join forces with Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin and Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston, who compete in a fourth Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 run under the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT NG banner.

The eyes of a nation will be firmly fixed on Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja with the Estonians forming part of the three-strong Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team bid. Team-mates Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe start the event second in the provisional standings, while the Hyundai representation is completed by Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson.

Craig Breen/Paul Nagle head M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s challenge and have finished second in Estonia for the last two seasons. Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria, Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson and Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais can also count on Ford Puma Rally1 power.

 

THE SUPPORTING CATEGORIES

The hugely competitive FIA WRC2 category has attracted 20 entries, including defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen (Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia Rally2) and Kajetan Kajetanowicz, the three-time FIA European champion who moved to the top of the provisional standings following his class victory on Safari Rally Kenya. New Zealander Hayden Paddon, a one-time WRC event winner, returns to the world stage in a Hyundai i20 N Rally2, also the car of choice for Teemu Suninen (Hyundai Motorsport N). Volkswagen Polo GTI drivers Egon Kaur and Georg Linnamaë (ALM Motorsport) are among a host of Estonians competing in WRC2, while American Sean Johnston (Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën C3 Rally2) heads to the event on the back of his career-high podium in Kenya. Meanwhile, Jari Huttunen will use his Rally Estonia participation to get ready for next month’s Rally Finland, when he will step up from an M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 to a Ford Puma Rally1 for the first time, a clear example of the opportunity competing in WRC2 gives to young, aspiring drivers.

Current championship leader Jon Armstrong from Great-Britain heads the FIA Junior WRC runners but Robert Virves will be hoping to claim the category win on his home event. Finns Sami Pajari, the defending champion, and Lauri Joona, possess event-winning pedigree, while William Creighton from Ireland and Kenyan McRae Kimathi continue to build their international experience. All Junior WRC drivers use identical Ford Fiesta Rally3s run by M-Sport Poland and equipped with Pirelli tyres, while Creighton, Joona, Pajari, Kimathi and WRC newcomer Roope Korhonen will also be eligible for WRC3 Open points.

 

MEDIA ACCREDITATION

Media accreditation must be collected in person by accredited pass holders from the Accreditation Desk, located at the Media Center, inside the Eesti Rahva Muuseum (Estonian National Museum), Muuseumi tee 2, 60532 Tartu, Estonia. GPS coordinates: N 58° 23.743 E 026° 44.757.

 

Media accreditation – Opening hours:

Tuesday July 12: 14:00 – 20:00 hrs

Wednesday July 13: 08:00 – 20:00 hrs

Thursday July 14: 08:00 – 20:00 hrs

 

Media Centre – Opening hours:

Wednesday July 13: 08:00 – 22:00 hrs

Thursday July 14: 08:00 – 23:00 hrs

Friday July 15: 07h30 – 23:00 hrs

Saturday July 16: 08h00 – 23:00 hrs

Sunday July 17: 06h30 – 20:00 hrs

 

2022 RALLY ESTONIA TIMETABLE AND MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

 

Wednesday July 13 
Team media functions (contact teams directly for information)From 16:30 hrs
M-Sport Ford WRT16:30 hrs
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT17:00 hrs
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT17:30 hrs
FIA Tabard Media Safety Briefing, Photographers’ Room, Media Centre18:00 hrs
  
Thursday July 14 
Shakedown for P1 and invited drivers, Abissaare, 6.23km 09:01-11:00 hrs
Shakedown for P1, P2 and P3 drivers, Abissaare, 6.23km11:01-13:00 hrs
Shakedown for non-priority drivers, Abissaare, 6.23km13:01-15:00 hrs
Pre-event FIA press conference, Press Conference Room, ERM Building*14:00 hrs
Meet the Crews (top 3 drivers from Shakedown), Tartu Town Hall Square17:45 hrs
Ceremonial Start, Tartu Town Hall Square 18:30 hrs
  
Friday July 15 
Start of Section 206:32 hrs
Meet the Crews (Service Park)Around 21:15 hrs
  
Saturday July 16 
Start of Section 408:00 hrs
Meet the Crews (Service Park)Around 20:00 hrs
  
Sunday July 17 
Start of Section 606:20 hrs
Podium Ceremony, Tartu Town Hall Square17:00 hrs
Post-event FIA press conference, Press Conference Room, ERM Building*17:45 hrs

 

*Press Conferences will be available to accredited media attending onsite and no longer streamed via Zoom. However, a written transcript will be available afterwards.

 

MEDIA ZONES

All priority drivers will be available for media interviews at the following times:

TC5A, TC9A, TC13A, TC18A, TC21A, TC24A

 

FIA PRESS CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE

 

Thursday July 14

 

14:00 - FIA WR3

Jon Armstrong (GBR), Ford Fiesta Rally3

Sami Pajari (FIN), Ford Fiesta Rally3

Starter Energy Racing – Robert Virves (EST), Ford Fiesta Rally3

 

14:10 - FIA WRC2

Egon Kaur (EST), Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Miko Marczyk (POL), Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo

Hayden Paddon (NZL), Hyundai i20 N Rally2

 

14:20 - FIA WRC 

Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team – Ott Tänak (EST), Hyundai i20 N Rally1

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team – Craig Breen (IRL), Ford Puma Rally1

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Esapekka Lappi (FIN), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Kalle Rovanperä (FIN), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

 

Sunday July 17

Winning FIA WRC3 Junior Championship driver

Winning FIA WRC3 Open Championship driver

Winning FIA WRC2 Championship driver

Top three drivers in the overall classification

Representative of the winning manufacturer

 

2022 RALLY ESTONIA MANUFACTURER ENTRIES

 

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRTKalle Rovanperä (FIN) / Jonne Halttunen (FIN) - #69
 Elfyn Evans (GBR) / Scott Martin (GBR) - #33
 Esapekka Lappi (FIN) / Janne Ferm (FIN) - #4
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRTThierry Neuville (BEL) / Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) - #11
 Ott Tänak (EST) / Martin Järveoja (EST) - #8
 Oliver Solberg (SWE) / Elliott Edmondson (GBR) - #2
M-Sport Ford WRTCraig Breen (IRL) / Paul Nagle (IRL) - #42
 Gus Greensmith (GBR) / Jonas Andersson (SWE) - #44
 Adrien Fourmaux (FRA) / Alexandre Coria (FRA) - #16

 

2022 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATIONS

The provisional classification following round six of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship season is available at this link: https://www.fia.com/events/world-rally-championship/season-2022/standings

 

2021 RALLY ESTONIA RESULTS

 

1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne HalttunenToyota Yaris WRC2h51m29.1s
2 Craig Breen/Paul NagleHyundai i20 Coupe WRC+59.9s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn WydaegheHyundai i20 Coupe WRC+1m12.4s

 

RECENT WINNERS

 

2021Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne HalttunenToyota Yaris WRC
2020Ott Tänak/Martin JärveojaHyundai i20 Coupe WRC
2019*Ott Tänak/Martin JärveojaToyota Yaris WRC
2018*Ott Tänak/Martin JärveojaToyota Yaris WRC
2016*Ralfs Sirmacis/Maris KulšsŠkoda Fabia R5

*Non-WRC event