This year's Rally Estonia got off to an electrifying start during the opening ceremony which took place at Tartu's Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats) on Thursday and featured live performances by some of Estonia's top artists.
After a rain drenched afternoon in Tartu, the sun came out just in time for the opening ceremony of this year's Rally Estonia. Fans were treated to live music from local favorites including Trad.Attack!, 5MIINUST, Grete Paia & Púr Múdd, along with on-stage interviews from top World Rally Championship (WRC) drivers. They also had the chance to get a closer look at some of the cars they'll be racing during this week's event.
Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas welcomed guests to the city, while the biggest cheer of the evening was reserved for local hero Ott Tänak.
Tänak, who responded with typical modesty to the suggestion that he was like a rock star in his native Estonia, was accompanied on stage by co-driver Martin Järveoja.
Earlier in the day, Järveoja had given up his seat in the car alongside Tänak to make way for a new star co-driver, top Estonian tennis player Annet Kontaveit, who took his place during the fourth round of pre-rally testing.
Kontaveit, who is currently at number 2 in the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) World Rankings, thanked Tänak on social media for "sparing my life," and an experience she'll remember for a long time.
As the sun went down over Raekoja Plats, it was left to top Estonian hip-hop band 5MIINUST to close out the show, with a high energy performance complete with pyrotechnics, smoke bombs and a troupe of dancers from the local Shaté School. This year's Rally Estonia is well and truly underway.
Rally Estonia's music program continues on Friday, with a concert by Estonian Pop Idol Season 8 winner Alika Milova beginning at 22:00 at Tartu Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats).
Rita Ray will complete the trio of free Tartu Town Hall Square concerts on Saturday from 20:00.
The full program for Rally Estonia 2022 can be found here.
Editor: Michael Cole