Rally Estonia, the largest rallying event in the country, held in southern Estonia every July since 2010, is set to become a promotional rally event for the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
This does not mean the race will be a party of the full WRC calendar, but it has nevertheless received state support for 2019 and agreements have been made for its WRC promotional status.
Estonia's top rally star, Ott Tänak, is currently in the lead in the 2019 WRC rankings after two races and having won in Sweden earlier in the month. Tänak finished third in 2018, winning four races that season.
Shell Helix Rally Estonia 2019 will be on 12-14 July. The government put up close to €1 million in support of this year's events, without confirming anything for future years, and culture minister Indrek Saar is set to sign a cooperation agreement with Oliver Cielsa of the WRC, secretary-general of the Estonian Autosport Union Alar Arukuusk, and member of the management board of Estonian Autosport Events MTU/Rally Estonia Urmo Aava, on Friday.
This agreement precedes the official cooperation agreement for July's rally, to be concluded between Mr Cielsa and member of the Rally Estonia board Tarmo Hõbe.
So far as future Rally Estonia events go, budgetary strategy for 2020 to 2023 is to be on the table in the weeks after the 3 March general election.
Editor: Andrew Whyte