The FIA World Rally Championship will continue with Rally Estonia on the first weekend of September. For the first time, reigning world champion Ott Tänak will get to start in a WRC series rally on familiar Estonian roads.
Tänak told ERR after Viru Rally had concluded: "We have to be ready for it [WRC Rally Estonia] and on our best level. There is certainly quite a bit to do, but we're working on being in shape."
As it stands, there are five rounds until the end of the WRC season. Therefore, the season will end after a maximum of ten rounds. "I believe the situation is as it is. Everyone gave their best."
Tänak added: "At some point, you have to move on with your life. You can't stay still. You have to learn to live in this new situation. The choices have been made, where life will move on, but now the challenge is how to do so. So that everyone would stay safe."
The new situation also changes the scoring system. With less rounds, every one of them ends up holding more weight in the final rankings. "You try to win every rally. I don't think the approach changes."
Oleg Gross, board member of the Estonian Autosport Union (EAL), said that a WRC round in Estonia is a remarkable event. "For it to take place here, we have to go back in time a bit. If there's no Ott Tänak, there's no WRC round."
He added: "We had our stars in skiing, now we have ours in rally. Thanks to that, there has been attention and the development of Rally Estonia. But we also must look at the youth drivers, to see if there's a next Ott Tänak."
There were tensions in the air at the start of the year in Estonian autosport, because the union and organizers of Rally Estonia had gotten into disagreements.
In February, the EAL increased the organization fee of rally events in Estonia to €100,000 which the organizers behind Rally Estonia were not willing to pay. This led to the popular event being cancelled for this year.
Gross said: "Urmo Aava (chief organizer of Rally Estonia) and I are both out for Estonian autosport. If there were any disagreements, they were light.
"We are great supporters and would like to thank Urmo. He's going to be under a lot of stress, a lot of work in the coming months. To do so in such a short time. If Rally Estonia was prepared for a year, this one is coming in a few months. Fingers crossed that we'll have some weather and spectators can come and enjoy the event."
The fourth round of the currently suspended WRC season will be held in Southern Estonia on September 4-6.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste