Rally Estonia Hoping to Be Part of 2014 European Championship
The organizers of the European Rally Championship have expressed an interest in including Estonia as a stage in next year's season.
Francois Ribeiro, motorsport development director of Eurosports Event, the new organizer of the championship, was in Estonia last week. He met with representatives from the Autosport Association, Enterprise Estonia and the Ministry of Culture, according to rallyestonia.com.
Estonia's rally director, Urmo Aava, said the budget for rally racing in Estonia would need to be at least tripled in order to take part in the European championship. That would require government support, which will be decided in coming months.
It's not the first time the region's rally organizers have floated ambitious plans. In 2011, rally representatives from the Baltics and Poland met in Riga to discuss potential WRC stage in 2013 that would pass through all four of those countries. The plan did not materialize.
Rally racing has been a fairly popular sport in Estonia, especially since the emergence of Markko Märtin, who rose to become one of the world's top drivers before ending his career after a tragic accident that killed his codriver. Some of the greatest drivers and races are also held just next door, in Finland.
Rally Estonia, held in the surroundings of the hilly southern town of Otepää, takes place this year from July 19-20. The event is a stage in the Estonian, Latvian, Baltic and NEZ championships, as well as in the FIA European Historic Sporting Rally Championship.