Government rejects EAL's funding request for organizing a WRC test rally ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Ott Tänak at Rally Mexico
Ott Tänak at Rally Mexico Source: Hyundai Motorsport

The Estonian Autosport Union (EAL) in April proposed to use the money earmarked for Rally Estonia for fulfilling other federation goals. However, the Ministry of Culture says that the distribution of targeted subsidies cannot be altered.

€980,000 from this year's state budget had been earmarked for organizing Rally Estonia, a race that has been held in southern Estonia every July since 2010, and was a promotional rally event for the senior-tier FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). In late February, organizers announced that Rally Estonia will not take place in 2020, citing organizational issues and a conflicting outlook with Estonia's motorsport governing body, the Estonian Autosport Union (EAL).

In April, EAL offered the state partnership in order to ensure that the major event takes place and asked the state for €450,000 to organize a test rally in Estonia before the WRC season continues.

According to EAL, there is reason to believe that the WRC season returns with Rally Finland, starting on August 6, but teams and drivers don't have an opportunity to test cars in a competitive situation before that. EAL says that if this should happen, Estonia would have the unique opportunity to organize a test rally that would be attended by a majority of the top drivers.

EAL also asked the government to support all competitions taking place under the aegis of EAL with €425,000 and find €70,000 for organizing "Talendid rajale", a competition series for young drivers. The total financial support requested by EAL amounts to €942,000.

Among others, the letter sent to the government on April 16 was signed by the current rally world champion Ott Tänak, former WRC driver Markko Märtin and EAL board member Oleg Gross.

Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) on Monday responded to EAL, saying that the government cannot significantly increase subsidies or make exceptions on rules already agreed upon.

"In the Ministry of Culture's budget for 2020, €980,000 is earmarked for Estonian Autosport Events MTÜ to organize Rally Estonia. This is a specific support which cannot be partially allocated to EAL to organize an event taking place for the first time," Lukas wrote.

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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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