WRC - Rally Estonia preview | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WRC - Rally Estonia preview

12.07.21

Some of the fastest roads in the FIA World Rally Championship await the crews when the 2021 season moves into its second half at Rally Estonia on July 15-18.

2020 WRC - Rally Estonia - O. Tänak/M. Järveojä (photo DPPI / F. Flamand)

First run in 2010, Rally Estonia has grown to become the largest motor sport event in the Baltic region, and joined the WRC calendar last year to stage the return to competition following the break imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It features high-speed roads with plenty of jumps and crests, combined with more technical sections. Due to the soft and sandy surface, ruts can often provide an added challenge on the second pass of stages.

Having won four of the first six rounds, including the last Safari Rally in Kenya, Sébastien Ogier leads the standings at the halfway stage in his bid for an eighth world title. His advantage lies at 34 points over his Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans. In the Hyundai squad, Thierry Neuville is 56 points away from the lead while Estonian hero Ott Tänak, a further eight points back, will be a favourite to repeat his home victory from 2020.

Finland’s Kalle Rovanperä will feel similarly close to home on Estonia’s high-speed roads, with his fellow Toyota youngster Takamoto Katsuta looking to repeat a great result following his maiden podium finish in Kenya. Craig Breen, who finished second after Tänak on last year’s event, returns at the wheel of the third factory Hyundai for the first time since Rally Croatia in April. Teemu Suninen lines up for M-Sport Ford alongside Gus Greensmith, while Pierre-Louis Loubet will be back in action in his 2C Compétition-entered Hyundai after missing the trip to Africa.

FIA WRC2 championship leader Andreas Mikkelsen tops a 10-car field in the category, with competition coming from the likes of Mads Østberg, Adrien Fourmaux and the Hyundai duo of Jari Huttunen and Oliver Solberg. Nikolay Gryazin will head to Rally Estonia fresh from a FIA European Rally Championship victory in the neighbouring Latvia last week.

Kajetan Kajetanowicz heads a further 14 crews entered in FIA WRC3, which includes Estonian ace Egon Kaur, who finished second in the class on his last outing at Arctic Rally Finland in February, and two-time FIA European Rally Champion Alexey Lukyanuk, who will make his first appearance on the world stage in over four years.

Rally Estonia is round three of the FIA Junior WRC season, in which Latvian driver Mārtiņš Sesks holds a nine-point lead over Finland’s Sami Pajari after winning their previous contest in Portugal.

 

THE 2021 ROUTE

Rally Estonia changes from three to four days for its second WRC appearance. It will start with a super special stage in Tartu next to the Raadi airfield Service Park which will kick off the competitive action on Thursday evening after Shakedown takes place in the morning. Friday’s four stages, all run twice, feature familiar names from 2020 but with revised routes: Kanepi will be run in the opposite direction to last year. Saturday brings four new stages to the WRC, including the longest test of the rally, the 23.56 kilometre Peipsääre. There’s also a repeat visit to the Tartu super special to round out the day. A trio of repeated stages concludes the rally on Sunday, with the Wolf Power Stage finishing at the Service Park.

 

MEDIA ACCREDITATION

Media accreditation and attendance is strictly managed with modified terms under COVID-19 regulations. All attendees are required to comply with the COVID protocol as defined by the event organisers (see Bulletin 2 on the Virtual Notice Board in the Competitors section on the event website).

Media accreditation must be collected personally by accredited Pass Holders at the Accreditation Desk, located at the Media Center at the Eesti Rahva Muuseum (Estonian National Museum):
Muuseumi tee 2, 60532 Tartu, Estonia (GPS coordinates: N 58° 23.743 E 026° 44.757)

The opening hours are:
Tuesday 13 July: 14h00 – 20h00
Wednesday 14 July: 08h00 – 20h00
Thursday 15 July: 08h00 – 20:00
Friday 16 July: 08h00 – 14h00

 

2021 WRC RALLY ESTONIA TIMETABLE AND MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

Wednesday 14 July 
Mandatory media safety briefing via video conference (details TBC)17:00 hrs
Family photo with P1 crews (drivers & codrivers), Tartu City Hall19:30 hrs
Drivers parade, from Tartu City Hall20:00 hrs
  
Thursday 15 July 
Shakedown for P1 & invited drivers, SD Abissaare09:00 – 11:00 hrs
Shakedown for all Priority drivers, SD Abissaare11:00 – 13:00 hrs
Shakedown for all drivers, SD Abissaare13:00 – 15:00 hrs
FIA Press Conference, via video conference (details TBC)14:30 hrs
- FIA WRC14:30 hrs
- FIA WRC214:40 hrs
- FIA WRC314:50 hrs
- FIA Junior WRC15:00 hrs
Opening ceremonial and rally start, Podium, Raadi airfield20:00 hrs
First car arrives for media zone & Parc Fermé, Raadi (TC1A)20:51 hrs
  
Friday 16 July 
Start of Section 2, Raadi Service Park08:02 hrs
First car arrives for media zone, tech. zone & service (TC5A), Raadi SP13:08 hrs
First car arrives for media zone, tech. zone, & service (TC9A), Raadi SP19:08 hrs
  
Saturday 17 July 
Start of Section 4, Raadi Service Park07:03 hrs
First car arrives for MZ, regroup, tech. zone & service (TC13A), Raadi SP13:08 hrs
First car arrives for media zone, technical zone & service (TC18A), SP20:20 hrs
  
Sunday 18 July 
Start of Section 6, Raadi Service Park05:53 hrs
Media zone during Podium holding (TC24A) – for HD media only14:32 hrs
Podium Ceremony & Price Giving, Raadi airfield15:20 hrs
FIA Press Conference, via video conference (details TBC)16:45 hrs

 

FIA PRESS CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE

Thursday 15 JulyFIA WRC
 Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Elfyn Evans (GBR)
 Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT – Ott Tänak (EST)
 M-Sport Ford WRT – Teemu Suninen (FIN)
  
 FIA WRC2
 TRT WRT – Mads Ostberg (NOR), Citroën C3
 ALM Motorsport – Georg Linnamäe (EST), Volkswagen Polo GTI
  
 FIA WRC3
 Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL)
 Egon Kaur (EST)
  
 FIA Junior WRC
 Robert Virves (EST)
 Martin Sesks (LVA)
  
Sunday 18 JulyWinning FIA Junior WRC Championship driver
 Winning FIA WRC3 Championship driver
 Winning FIA WRC2 Championship driver
 Top three drivers in the overall classification
 Representative of the winning manufacturer

 

MANUFACTURER WRC ENTRIES, 2021 WRC RALLY ESTONIA

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRTSébastien Ogier (FRA) / Julien Ingrassia (FRA) - #1
 Elfyn Evans (GBR) / Scott Martin (GBR) - #33
 Kalle Rovanperä (FIN) / Jonne Halttunen (FIN) - #69
  
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRTThierry Neuville (BEL) / Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) - #11
 Ott Tänak (EST) / Martin Järveoja (EST) - #8
 Craig Breen (IRL) / Paul Nagle (IRL) - #42
  
M-Sport Ford WRTGus Greensmith (GBR) / Chris Patterson (IRL) - #44
 Teemu Suninen (FIN) / Mikko Markkula (FIN) - #3