WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2021

2021

VM kalendern 2021
21-24 jan Monte Carlo    
11-14 febr Rally Sweden    
26-28 febr Finland    
22-25 april Kroatioen *    
20-23 maj Portugal    
3-6 juni Italien    
24-27 juni Kenya    
15-18 juli Estland    
29-1 aug Finland    
19-22 aug England    
??-?? aug Belgien    
9-12 sept Chile    
14-17 okt Spanien    
11-14 nov Japan    
* Subject to agreement

 


21-02-27 Tänak stretches Arctic Rally lead amid Ogier's Saturday despair
Rovanperä and Neuville stay in touch with Estonian ahead of Sunday finale. Ott Tänak mastered Saturday’s second leg of Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox to carry a substantial lead into Sunday’s finale.

The Estonian won three of the six superfast snow and ice speed tests in a Hyundai i20 to add to Friday’s opening leg double. He heads Kalle Rovanperä by 24.1sec with two more remaining at this second round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

His joy was in contrast to the disappointment suffered by world champion Sébastien Ogier. The championship leader buried his Toyota Yaris into a snowbank 200 metres from the end of the closing test and plunged off the leaderboard as he battled for 20min to dig it out.

Tänak stretched his advantage to 23.6sec after winning two of this morning's three stages in perfect winter conditions in Lapland's forests. He held the Finnish youngster and a fast-closing Thierry Neuville at bay this afternoon to put himself in a strong position.

"This afternoon was all about getting through and we didn't make any mistakes," said Tänak. "This morning we were still pushing a bit but this afternoon it was important just to come through. The last stage was quite stressful, but for us there was no need to push."

Despite overnight set-up changes to his Yaris, Rovanperä remained frustrated with his car's balance. He yielded a few seconds after swiping a snowbank and after winning the penultimate stage, he came under fierce pressure from a charging Neuville in the final test.

The Belgian's tyre strategy worked to perfection and he was quickest by more than 12sec to slash Rovanpera's advantage to 1.8sec. It was a better afternoon for Neuville who earlier struggled to hear co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe's pace notes above his i20's engine noise.

Team-mate Craig Breen found tyre management more tricky as conditions worsened this afternoon. With frozen gravel poking through the ice and loose snow on the surface, the Irishman fell back to fourth, almost 30sec adrift of Neuville.

Toyota's Elfyn Evans broke Tänak's run of stage wins this morning but the Welshman also struggled to manage his tyres and admitted he was often too cautious. He was 10.1sec behind Breen.

Oliver Solberg surpassed all expectations on his WRC World Rally Car debut. The 19-year-old was a stunning third in the opening stage and returned to the Rovaniemi base in sixth – despite losing his glasses ahead of the final stage!

Sunday's finale comprises two runs of the 22.47km Aittajärvi test, south of Rovaniemi. The second pass forms the live TV Wolf Power Stage, with bonus points up for grabs for the top five drivers and manufacturers.

Leading positions after Saturday
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 1hr 43min 32.1sec
2. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +24.1sec
3. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +25.9sec
4. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Hyundai i20 +53.4sec
5. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +1min 03.5sec
6. O Solberg / S Marshall SWE Hyundai i20 +1min 26.8sec
20-02-26 Tänak takes charge in Arctic's WRC winter wonderland on Friday
Estonian carves out 16.2sec lead over Breen with Finn Rovanperä third. Ott Tänak threw down the gauntlet in Lapland's frozen forests by winning the opening two speed tests to build a dominant lead at Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox on Friday night.

The Estonian was the class of the field in the first of three days of Arctic action. He was fastest in the first 31.05km Sarriojärvi test by 3.6sec before crushing his rivals by almost 10sec in the repeat run in darkness.

Tänak returned to the overnight halt in Rovaniemi with a 16.2sec advantage over Hyundai i20 team-mate Craig Breen, with home hero Kalle Rovanperä 20.4sec adrift in a Toyota Yaris in third.

Pirelli's tyres provided amazing grip as the tungsten-tipped studded rubber bit into the snow and ice-covered roads. Tänak was one of the few frontrunners to gamble on just one spare tyre for the pair of stages.

"I tried to be as nice as possible to the tyres on the hard surface," he said. "It's still very, very early in the rally so no reason yet to think about anything. It was a challenging and typical rollercoaster Finland stage, very technical."

Breen, returning to the FIA World Rally Championship after a four-rally absence, was quickly back in the groove. Top three times on both stages put the Irishman ahead of the eager 20-year-old Rovanperä.

The Finn's first stage split times were quicker than Tänak, but a mistake after the midpoint slowed his progress. On roads littered with tricky blind crests, he recorded the top speed, clocking a remarkable 204.8kph in the second pass.

"I was stuck in a snowbank for a while. I thought I had more time coming into a junction but went wide and hit the rear. We can't have mistakes like that again," the 20-year-old said.

Thierry Neuville put a third i20 into the top four. The Belgian was 9.4sec behind Rovanperä and complained of understeer in the second run, but he had 2.2sec in hand over Elfyn Evans' Toyota Yaris in fifth. Teemu Suninen was sixth in a Ford Fiesta.

Championship leader Sébastien Ogier was almost 50sec off the lead in ninth in his Yaris. Road conditions improved progressively so first in the order proved a tough task for the Frenchman, especially as snow flurries left loose powder on the surface for the second pass.

The bulk of the rally takes place in Saturday's second leg. A compact clockwise route south-east of Rovaniemi is driven twice, with service in between. The final stage runs in darkness and the six tests add up to 144.04km of action.

Leading positions after Friday
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 31min 50.7sec
2. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Hyundai i20 +16.2sec
3. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +20.4sec
4. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +29.8sec
5. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +32.0sec
6. T Suninen / M Markkula FIN Ford Fiesta +34.5sec
21-02-25 Juniorvärldsmästaren Tom Kristensson på väg till WRC
Det råder rallyfeber i Sverige trots att Rally Sweden ersatts med WRC Artic Rally Finland. Oliver Solberg debuterar som fabriksförare i WRC, multiföraren Mattias Ekström gör rallycomeback i WRC3, och i den klassen får han även konkurrens av rallycrossvärldsmästaren Johan Kristoffersson när VM-rallyt inleds på fredagen i Rovaniemi.

I startfältet saknas dock regerande juniorvärldsmästaren Tom Kristensson från Hörby, men faller alla pusselbitar på plats så återfinns skåningen på startlinjen när WRC Croatia inleds 22 april.
– Det är som ett hundrabitarspussel där 95 bitar hittills fallit på plats, förklarar 29-årige Tom Kristensson nöjt.

Det är ingen hemlighet att han har bestämt sig för att ta steget upp till WRC från JWRC som han segrade klart i ifjol och så snöpligt snuvades på segern i 2019.
– Jag jobbar stenhårt på detta, det är nästintill ett heltidsarbete bara att ”rodda” allt, men jag har en förstående arbetsgivare som ger mig möjligheterna, säger han.

Som segrare i JWRC 2020 har han en WRC2-bil till sitt förfogande, fem fria WRC-starter samt 200 däck. En bra grundsplåt entrébiljett, för att kunna ta steget upp till den fyrhjulsdrivna klassen under WRC. I nuläget är förhandlingarna långt framme.

I slutet av januari blev det klart att David Arhusiander från Östersund kommer att vara co-driver till Tom denna säsong. David har läst noter i både svenska och tyska rallymästerskapen. Tom har också byggt upp ett nätverk av kunniga och rutinerade personer för att stötta honom i arbetet med att tävla och för att kunna få rätt förutsättningar för att kunna göra det.

Även om bil, däck och startavgifter är säkerställda, så krävs en driftsbudget för att täcka omkostnader. Omkring fyra miljoner kronor kostar en fullvärdig WRC2-säsong med krav på start i sju tävlingar, varav en start ska ske utanför Europa. Av dem räknas resultaten i sex.
– En styrka i vårt arbete med att finna sponsorer är dels att tävlingarna avgörs i viktiga exportländer för svensk industri, dels den starka TV-bevakningen där SVT:s WRC-sändningar tenderar en räckvidd på över 900 000 tittare per sändning, berättar Tom Kristensson.

Innan mitten av mars kommer ett besked om Tom Kristenssons WRC-start 2021.
21-02-24 WRC breaks new ground in the Arctic’s frozen Finnish forests
The FIA World Rally Championship journeys to the Arctic Circle for the first time this week. The FIA World Rally Championship journeys to the Arctic Circle for the first time this week boosted by one of the strongest frontline entries in recent years.

Never in its 49-year history has the series ventured as far north and Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox (26 - 28 February) has 13 World Rally Cars ready for battle in Lapland’s winter wonderland.

This second round is the year’s only pure winter fixture. Paradoxically, the frozen forests around Rovaniemi will see top speeds exceeding 200kph as Pirelli’s studded tyres dig into thick ice covering gravel roads to provide amazing grip.

Seven-time world champion Sébastien Ogier heads the entry following victory in last month’s opening round at Rallye Monte-Carlo. Like most frontrunners, the Frenchman has no experience of the Arctic roads and has found it difficult to prepare in the usual way.

“Usually when we have onboard videos from rallies we try to look at them,” explained the Toyota Gazoo Racing driver.

“This is probably the event where there is the least advantage to look at previous onboards because very often snowbanks can be in a different place. They give you an idea of what to expect in terms of profile and general speed, but they are not really a big working tool.”

Ogier is joined in Yaris World Rally Cars by Kalle Rovanperä, Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta and it’s 20-year-old Rovanperä who has attracted much of the pre-event attention.

The Finn is used to snow and ice and although the Arctic marks only his ninth top-level start, he won a national rally on the same roads in January last year. Many believe he has what it takes to becomes the WRC’s youngest rally winner this weekend.

“It’s the rally where it can really happen,” said Ogier. “Last year already in Sweden’s winter conditions he was really fast, and probably on snow he has driven more kilometres than almost any driver in the championship, even if he is the youngest. He will be very strong.”

Ireland’s Craig Breen comes into Hyundai Motorsport’s squad to join Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak in i20 World Rally Cars.

Teemu Suninen is eyeing a strong performance on home ground after crashing in the season-opener. He is joined by Gus Greensmith and Prada heir Lorenzo Bertelli, competing for the first time since 2019, in Fiesta World Rally Cars for the M-Sport Ford team.

Oliver Solberg, son of 2003 world champion Petter, makes his top-flight debut in an i20 entered by Hyundai 2C Compétition. The teenager’s preparations have been upset by a late co-driver change, with Seb Marshall replacing Aaron Johnston.

Pierre-Louis Loubet drives a second car for the team while the World Rally Car entries are completed by private entrant Janne Tuohino in a Fiesta.

The rally starts on Friday afternoon and drivers face 10 speed tests covering 251.08km before Sunday afternoon’s finish.

21-02-23 Citroën in Hungary launches World Champion Crew in national Rally Chamionship
Citroën Rally Team Hungary has signed for its third season in the Hungarian Rally Championship, a world champion driver and co-driver. Last year’s WRC2 champion Mads Ostberg and co-driver Torstein Eriksen will make their 2021 debut with the latest developments of the Citroën C3 Rally 2 provided by Tagai Racing Technology (TRT) in the Hungarian Open Rally Championship.

The Citroën brand is proud of the success, performance and reliability that Citroën Racing has demonstrated throughout its rally career The Hungarian Citroën headquarters, as well as Tagai Racing Technology and PIRELLI, have worked hard to be able to show the local audience what Citroën is capable of throughout the 2021 season.

Team principal, György Balkányi, proudly stated, “ I am very pleased to be able to establish a collaboration between TRT and Mads Østberg, who will represent the Citroën brand in the Hungarian Rally Championship, as well as the reputation of our country and Hungarian rally in the world.”

The four-time Norwegian champion has been competing with Citroën since 2014 and was at the wheel of the C3 R5 in 2020 when he was titled WRC2 World Championship with his co-driver, also Norwegian Torstein Eriksen.

At a test session organized last year, Mads was able to find his bearings within the team. He said, “I am happy to have been able to come to this agreement with Citroën in Hungary and TRT, I am very confident in their work and am excited to take on the challenge of the Hungarian roads.”
21-02-23 Johan laddad för VM-rally
Eet blir årspremiär för Johan Kristoffersson i Arctic Rally Finland kommande helg. En chans att skaffa värdefull erfarenhet och gå en match mot världseliten.
- Jag har inte kört rally på ett år, så det blir samma taktik som det brukar i rally-VM. Vi börjar lite lugnt. När vi har kommit in i det ska vi höja tempot, säger Kristoffersson.

I februari 2020 körde den numera trefaldige rallycrossvärldsmästaren i mål som trea i WRC 3 i Rally Sweden. Det var tredje pallplatsen på lika många VM-rallyn.
- Rally Sweden 2019 och 2020 och så Rally Finland däremellan.

Arctic Rally Finland tar 2021 över Rally Swedens plats i VM-kalendern. Rovaniemi, 135 mil från Kristofferssons bas i Arvika, är tävlingscentrum för det vintriga rallyt vid polcirkeln. För Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS blir det en härlig kick-off för säsongen. Stallchefen Tommy Kristoffersson har höga förhoppningar:
- Det är många i vårt team som brinner för rally. Nu blev det tyvärr inget Svenska Rallyt, men istället får vi vara med om ett riktigt klassiskt vinterrally, med två meter snö och härliga vintervägar. Det är inspirerande för oss alla!

För Johan blir det mycket tid bakom ratten, värdefull träning, oavsett vad resten av året har att bjuda på. Många detaljer från rallykörning har Johan haft stor nytta av i sin framgångsrika rallycrosskarriär. Arctic Rally Finland blir därför ett exklusivt sätt att förena nytta med nöje.
- Det ska bli så himla roligt! Det är kul med rally, för man kan göra så mycket förberedelser. Det har blivit mycket rally-on-board på sistone. Man kan inte gå förbi datorn utan att det råkar bli ännu en film.

Ett test har han också hunnit köra med Kristoffersson Motorsports Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.
- Det funkade bra, även om en enskild testväg inte täcker in karaktären för ett helt rally.

Esapekka Lappi och Andreas Mikkelsen ser Kristoffersson fram emot att få jämföra sig med, även om de kör i WRC 2-klassen.
- Jag räknar helst på alla R5-bilar som en grupp och man kan i alla fall inte be om tuffare motstånd.

Duellen med Mattias Ekström i WRC 3 ser värmlänningen som den mest intressanta.
- Sett till förutsättningarna är det vi två som är jämförbara, två rallycrossförare som får chansen att köra ett VM-rally. Och eftersom både jag och Mattias är extremt noga med att alltid förbereda oss på bästa sätt ska det bli intressant att se vem som lyckats bäst.

Johan har gjort sina förberedelser delvis tillsammans med nygamle co-drivern Patrik Barth, som ersätter Stig Rune Skjaermoen.
- Båda är superduktiga och jag har åkt med Patrik förr så det blir inga problem. Han var dessutom ute och åkte VM förra året, så han har koll på allt runt omkring. Jag bara kör!

Tio specialsträckor ska Kristoffersson och Barth ta sig genom, från fredag eftermiddag till söndag eftermiddag.
- Det är inte så många sträckor, men de är långa. Jag kör inte för någon topplacering totalt, men på vissa ställen ska vi kunna vara med och utmana.
21-02-22 Ingen press på Solberg i sin WRC-debut
Tydliga order till Oliver Solberg (19) från Hyundai-chefen inför sin WRC-debut denna vecka: Kör och ha det kul.

19-åringen kommer för första gången att köra i den största klassen i Rally-VM i den finska vintertävlingen denna veckan.
Tävlingen i det isiga norra Finland blir Oliver Solbergs 40:e rally (inräknat alla klasser) men det är första gången den nyblivna fabriksföraren ska mäta hästkrafterna mot världens bästa chaufförer i värstingklassen.
- Jag har pratat mycket med Andrea (Adamo, teamchef i Hyundai Motorsport) om debuten, och han vill bara att jag ska köra och njuta.
Det enda han förväntar sig av mig är att jag ska lära mig så mycket som möjligt, ha kul och slutföra tävlingen. Att flyttas upp till högsta klassen är ett stort steg, men jag har väntat hela mitt liv på den här chansen så nu vill jag bara komma igång, säger Oliver Solberg, som kommer att vara en av de yngsta rallyförarna genom tiderna i WRC-klassen.

Endast ett par månader har gått sedan 19-åringen tecknade ett tvåårskontrakt med Hyundai Motorsport. På fredagen ersätter Solberg Junior 290 med 360 hästkrafter för första gången när han parkerar sin Hyundai i20 R5 (WRC2) och sätter sig bakom ratten på en fullspäckad Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.

Han har bara haft en testdag med bilen innan Arctic Rally Finland i Rovaniemi.
- Det var en fantastisk upplevelse att få testa bilen, den är otroligt häftig att köra! Men jag har bara börjat vänja mig med bilen, det krävs mycket mer än en testdag för att lära sig allt nytt. Det har rapporterats minusgrader och stabila väderförhållanden, vilket är perfekt när man håller på att lära sig en ny bil, säger Oliver.

Tävlingen i Finland är säsongens andra VM-tävling av tolv. Det börjar på fredag morgon och avslutas söndag eftermiddag då 10 specialsträckor har avverkats.

Ganska exakt 22 år har gått sedan pappa Petter Solberg - då drygt 24år gammal - debuterade som fabriksförare för Ford i rally Sweden 1999 (16:e plats). Han vann sin första VM-tävling dagen innan han fyllde 28 och blev den förste och hittills enda norska rallyvärldsmästaren på toppnivå några dagar innan han fyllde 29.

Petters första pallplats kom i Grekland tre månader innan Oliver föddes på Fredrikstad sjukhus 2001. Då var han 26år och 212 dagar gammal.
20-02-11 Mattias Ekström gör comeback i rally-VM
Mattias Ekström återvänder till rally-VM (FIA WRC) senare i februari under deltävlingen Arctic Rally Finland. I högerstolen finns tidigare Juniorvärldsmästaren Emil Bergkvist.

26-28 februari kommer FIA WRC Arctic Rally Finland köras kring Rovaniemi i norra Finland. I klassen WRC3 kommer tidigare rallycross-världsmästaren och dubbla DTM-mästaren Mattias Ekström till start med en Škoda Fabia Evo Rally2, som servas av EKS och JC Raceteknik. Som kartläsare finns Emil Bergkvist, föredetta Juniorvärldsmästare i rally – en roll duon nyligen testat under Dakarrallyt.

Bortsett från sina stora framgångar inom rallycross och banracing har Mattias Ekström även en lång historia av rally i bagaget. Under Svenska Rallyt 1999 debuterade Ekström i VM med en Grupp N Mitsubishi. 2004 vann han de två deltävlingarna han körde det året: Sverige och Catalunya. 2005 och 2006 anslöt Ekström sig till Škoda och körde en WRC-bil under utvalda deltävlingar – han visade även då tempo bakom ratten.

Mattias Ekström, förare:
”Rally har varit en livslång passion för mig och att köra Arctic Rally Finland är en punkt på min bucket-list som jag nu kan bocka av. 2021 har jag dedikerat till Extreme E-serien, som kräver väldigt varierad kunskap och förmågan att köra på olika underlag. Arctic Rally Finland är ett perfekt event för mig för att hålla mig i form. Att köra hundratals kilometer på is och snö, och även återuppleva min passion för rally.

Att komma från Dakarrallyt i den Saudi Arabiska öknen till vinterklimat i norra Finland är den största kontrasten någon kan föreställa sig. VM-rallyt blir det första stoppet på min Arctic Adventure road-trip. Det kommer helt klart att bli väldigt kul. De som känner mig vet att jag gillar att vinna och planen är att bjuda de ordinarie förarna i klassen på en fight, även om jag vet att de har mycket mer erfarenheter av just rally. Vi kommer inleda med ett par dagars test innan tävlingen och lovar att förse alla fans med bakom kulisserna-material via sociala medier.”

Emil Bergkvist, kartläsare:
”Att återvända till WRC är en härlig känsla, men jämfört med tidigare kommer jag ha en helt annan roll. Jag känner mig exalterad och vet att det kommer bli en stor utmaning. Jag har jobbat med Mattias ett tag nu, förhoppningsvis kan jag leverera som kartläsare och kanske även komma med några bra tips.”

Joel Christoffersson, teamchef JC Raceteknik:
”Vi hade en väldigt lyckad säsong i fjol tillsammans med Mattias, som gav både team-guld och VM-silver. Så det känns jättekul att även kunna göra det här och vi är glada över att kunna starta igång säsongen redan nu. Senast vi gjorde ett rally var tillsammans med Mattias under Rally Legends 2019. Då var det mer en rolig grej för oss alla, men nu är vi tillbaka för att tävla på riktigt. Mattias är en rutinerad förare och vi kommer göra allt för att kämpa om en pallplats. Jag vet att vårt team har erfarenheten och kunskapen att göra det, så jag ser verkligen fram emot tävlingen. Tyvärr körs inte rallyt i Värmlandsskogarna i år, men vi hoppas såklart att det kommer tillbaka hit 2022.”
21-02-05 Sensationell WRC-debut för Oliver Solberg
Oliver Solberg kommer att vara en av de yngsta förarna genom tiderna på toppnivå i rally-VM när han gör sin WRC-debut i finska vintertävlingen i Rovaniemi om tre veckor.

Drygt en månad efter att 19-åringen skrev på ett tvåårigt kontrakt med Hyundai Motorsport flyttas han upp till värstingklassen. Den 26 februari byter Solberg junior 290hk med 380hk när hans Hyundai i20 R5 (WRC2) får vila och istället sätter han sig bakom ratten i en fullspäckad Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.

För första gången kommer stjärnskottet att få mäta sig med giganterna i WRC-klassen, där väntar bl.a sjufaldige (och regerande) världsmästaren Sebastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans, Kaller Rovanperä samt teamkamraterna Thierry Neuville och Ott Tänak.
- Jag är otroligt tacksam över att ha fått den här möjligheten. En ny dröm som går i uppfyllelse, och jag är väldigt laddad inför uppgiften, men samtidigt väldigt ödmjuk. Jag har absolut ingen erfarenhet av den här bilen eller någon annan WRC-bil för den delen. Målet är glasklart, här ska det köras, läras och njutas, säger Oliver Solberg.

Ganska exakt 22 år har gått sedan pappa Petter Solberg - då drygt 24år gammal - debuterade som fabriksförere för Ford i Rally Sweden 1999 (16:e plats). Han vann sin första VM-tävling dagen innan han fyllde 28år och blev den första och hittills enda norska världsmästaren i rally på toppnivå några dagar innan han fyllde 29år.

Solberg seniors första pallplats kom i Grekland tre månader innan Oliver föddes på Fredrikstad Hospital 2001.

Sonens rekordtidiga WRC-debut kommer knappast som en blixt från klar himmel. I januari körde 19-åringen två tävlingar i Hyundais färger där han och kartläsaren Aaron Johnston imponerade mycket med bland annat en pallplats i just finska Rovaniemi.

- Naturligtvis är vi angelägna om att se vilken nivå Oliver ligger på men vi ställer inga krav på hans debut annat än att han ska njuta och skaffa sig så mycket erfarenhet det bara går. Vi ser detta mer som en test än en tävling för Oliver. Han måste anpassa sig till bilen och bilens prestanda under krävande vinterförhållanden. Målet är att vi ska se en glad och nöjd Oliver korsa mållinjen efter sista specialsträckan, säger teamchef Andrea Adamo i Hyundai Motorsport.

WRC-bilen som Oliver Solberg kommer att köra i Finland skiljer sig ganska mycket mot R5-bilen han är van vid och har tävlat med de två sista åren. Först och främst har den en betydligt högre (25 procent) motorprestanda, den är lättare, den har en sexväxlad låda (R5-bilen har fem) samt betydande utveckling av tekniska, mekaniska och aerodynamiska komponenter.

Bilen accelererar från 0 till 100km/h på mindre än 4 sekunder - oavsett underlag.
- Förmodligen blir en av de största utmaningarna att bemästra de krafter som följer med aerodynamiken i bilen.
Jag har väldigt liten erfarenhet inom området, men de snabba vägarna runt Rovaniemi är perfekta för att lära känna ”downforce” i en WRC-bil, säger Oliver Solberg.

Vintertävlingen i Finland ersätter traditionella Rally Sweden, som blev inställt pga den rådande pandemin.
Rallyt i Finland om tre veckor blir säsongens andra VM-tävling.

21-01-27 David Arhusiander blir ny co-driver till Tom Kristensson
Efter det att Joakim Sjöberg, på grund av tidsbrist, lämnade högerstolen hos Tom efter JWRC-segern i Italien i början av december, har sökandet efter en ny co-driver pågått. Nu är det klart att 30-årige David Arhusiander från Östersund blir Toms nye bisittare.
David tävlar för Jämtlands MK och började åka med lokala förare 2009. Efter det blev det tävlingar på SM-nivå med ett antal olika förare innan han 2018 tog plats bredvid Elias Lundberg och tävlade i SM och i Opel Adam Cup i Tyskland. Man vann cupen, vilken Tom gjorde året före, och det blev en plats Opel Junior Rally Team och tävlande i JERC, Junior-EM, 2019. Under förra årets stympade säsong blev det några tävlingar med Adam Westlund.
- Det skall bli väldigt spännande och inspirerande att åka med Tom på VM-nivå och i en R5-bil, säger David.
- Vi har träffats några gånger och det har klickat bra. Toms driv och positivitet känns mycket inspirerande, så jag ser verkligen fram emot att vi skall komma igång och tävla och få uppleva hur VM-tävlingar på den här nivån fungerar.
- Jag är mycket glad över att ha fått en pusselbit på plats och lyckats knyta David till teamet, säger Tom. - Som David säger har det klickat och känts bra de gånger vi träffats, och han har ju en hel del erfarenhet av större utlandstävlingar från EM. Det kommer att bli både bra och kul, det är jag övertygad om.
- Just ni arbetar jag hårt för att få ihop säsongen för en VM-satsning. Det är många pusselbitar som skall på plats, och inte minst en budget som håller, fortsätter Tom.
- Eftersom förra årets säsong påverkades av Corona och inte slutade förrän i början av december, har tiden för att få ihop årets säsong blivit kortare än tänkt. Men som sagt, vi jobbar hårt och tar steg för steg framåt, samtidigt som pandemin är en viss osäkerhetfaktor.
- Jag vill ju absolut kunna använda vinarrbilen från VM-segern, avslutar Tom

För någon dag sedan fick Tom uppmärksamhet för segern i Junior-VM genom att ta emot pris på Nordöstra Skånes Idrottsgala.
I kategorin "Årets Genombrott" utsåg juryn Tom till vinnare med motiveringen: "En passionerad idrottsman som gått sin egen väg för att erövra världen. Landslagsmannen från Hässleholms kommun fixade ett fartfyllt genombrott som gav stora rubriker så väl nationellt som internationellt". Det var första gången sedan starten av galan 2003 som en rallyförare fick ta emot priset.
- Det är en stor ära att bli uppmärksammad och hedrad med detta i stark konkurrens med många andra duktiga idrottare från områden, säger Tom
21-01-24 #C3Rally2family dominate WRC3 category at WRC season opener Rally Monte-Carlo
The C3Rally2 drivers asserted themselves within the tough RC2 competition and highlighted the expertise and experience of Citroën Racing through their strong and unwavering performances. The ongoing development by the brand and the WRC2 and WRC3 teams has made this kick off to the 2021 season to conclude a success.

The C3Rally2 displayed outstanding reliability throughout the changing Rally Monte-Carlo climate by reserving five spots in the RC2 top 10. Put to the test in a mix of weather, visibility and road conditions; the snow, ice and rain were no match up against its consistency and versatility.

Despite jumping into the deep end for some following a complicated 2020-year, the RC2 competitors took advantage of the technical support and expert weather analysts made available to them by Citroën Racing and were able to conquer the conditions presented to them. Eric Camilli struggled finding his rhythm coming into the early stages, however the momentum developed stage by stage as he kept a steady pace allowing him to finish 3rd of WRC2 and in the top 10 of RC2. A first Rally Monte-Carlo at the wheel of a Rally2 car, Sean Johnston and Alex Kuhrani played it safe though their experience allowed them to build confidence and pace in the varied conditions finishing in 5th position.

It was a fair-play battle for the top three between Yohan Rossel, Yoann Bonato and Nicolas Ciamin on all stages as the drivers pushed the C3Rally2 for the WRC3 stage wins. CHL Sport Auto driver Yoann Bonato and his co-drive Benjamin Boulloud clocked in four scratch times and Santéloc Racing Team’s Yohan Rossel & Benoit Fulcrand with four. Rossel managed to grow the gap after his stage win on ES 10, while Bonato and Ciamin suffered a puncture. Nicolas Ciamin of Belgian team DG Sport, put the pressure on the two leaders with his five scratch times and showed outstanding performance with a best results of P7 in the overall standings on ES12. The reactivity of C3Rally2 to the different driving styles of the three Frenchmen saw them round off the WRC3 podium.

A first time in competition off the Belgian rally roads, the duo Davy Vanneste and co-driver Kris D’alleine got some quality experience on the World Rally Championship and Rally Monte-Carlo stage, who held onto their 6th WRC3 position throughout the entire rally. G.Car Sport’s Italian crew, Giacomo Ogliaro and Lorenzo Grnai brought their WRC experience to the stage and fought to keep a strong and steady pace throughout the entire rally.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE…
Didier Clément – Director of the Citroën Racing client competition:
“This Rally Monte-Carlo 2021 was an extremely difficult challenge, with some exceptional conditions. The collective result is an impressive one that shows the coherence between the C3Rally2Family and their ability to work together. To have all of the cars and crews finish the race is an accomplishment in itself, but with zero reliability or technical issues is even better. The tyre choice, which was never obvious, was always on point. We have concrete results with the impressive third place of Eric Camilli who has had very little driving time and the outstanding triple WRC3 podium with Yohan Rossel, Yoann Bonato and Nicolas Ciamin, which put forward the different drivers, tools and the C3Rally2.”

Eric Camilli – Sports & You – WRC2:
“We had a lot of fun on this first rally of the season. The result is ok, we obviously wanted more, but after a year without much driving time, we could not have done better. The time it took us to find our rhythm, it was already too late. The very muddy conditions were where we lost our time. It will not be easy to find time to get any more tests in, so our next stop will surely be Croatia or Portugal.”

Yohan Rossel – Saintéloc Racing Team – WRC3:
“I attained my objectives coming into Rally Monte-Carlo, which was to be first. I am happy of our performance and what we were able to prove during the rally. There are things to work on that I have already brought to the attention of with my engineer and the team and we are ready to start. We are happy that Citroën Racing is there to help us in finding the right set up and solutions for what we hope to achieve. Being ahead after the first race is always a good thing, and I am excited to see what we will be able to do next.”
21-01-24 Ogier claims record eighth Monte-Carlo victory at 2021 season-opener
Frenchman banks 50th WRC win as Evans finishes second with Neuville third.

Sébastien Ogier celebrated his 50th world rally win and a record eighth victory at Rallye Monte-Carlo on Sunday afternoon.

He opened the defence of his 2020 FIA World Rally Championship title with a sublime performance in the French Alps, mastering snow and ice to head Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Elfyn Evans by 32.6sec in a dominant 1-2 for the Japanese squad.

Ogier's eight victories span three decades and have been achieved with five different manufacturers. He ended a perfect weekend by winning the final Wolf Power Stage to add five bonus points and seal a maximum 30-point haul from the rally.

The Frenchman shrugged aside early brake problems in his Toyota Yaris. He launched a charging recovery after losing the lead on Saturday following a spin and a puncture to regain top spot ahead of Sunday's finale in the mountains above Monaco.

Ogier, who delayed retirement for one final WRC season, more than doubled his lead in the final leg for an emotional win on a rally based in his birthplace of Gap. A 1-2 marked a dream start to Jari-Matti Latvala's management career as team principal.

"That's not a bad end to the weekend," Ogier said. "The car has been amazing. I really enjoyed the weekend, it has been such a pleasure. I almost have tears in my eyes now and it was a good decision to do one more year. Jari-Matti – welcome boss, with a win!"

Evans led on Saturday night after Ogier's time loss, but the Welshman could not repel his colleague and felt he had been over-cautious in the difficult conditions.

"It's been good, but I never felt it was never 100 per cent as it should have been. There were some good stages, but never consistently where I'd really like to be. Perhaps we were just a little below the point you could call the level of risk," he explained.

Last year's victor, Thierry Neuville, finished a further 40.9sec behind in a Hyundai i20. It marked an impressive result for the Belgian, who split with long-term co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul less than a week before the start, and did not partner replacement Martijn Wydaeghe until Thursday's opening speed test.

Neuville climbed to third when Kalle Rovanperä's hopes of achieving a Toyota clean sweep of the podium ended with a Sunday morning puncture. The Finn finished 1min 20.1sec adrift.

Dani Sordo was fifth in another i20 after a frustrating weekend for the Spaniard on his last rally with co-driver Carlos del Barrio. Japan's Takamoto Katsuta rounded off the top six in another Yaris.

Round two of the championship features northern Finland's all-new Arctic Rally Lapland. The series' only pure winter rally is based in Rovaniemi on February 26-28.

Final positions
1. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris 2hr 56min 33.7sec
2. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +32.6sec
3. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +1min 13.5sec
4. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +2min 33.6sec
5. D Sordo / C del Barrio ESP Hyundai i20 +3min 14.2sec
6. T Katsuta / D Barritt GBR Toyota Yaris +7min 01.3sec

FIA World Rally Championship (after round 1 of 12)
1. S Ogier 30pts
2. E Evans 21pts
3. T Neuville 17pts




21-01-24 Lärorik Hyundai-debut i VM för Oliver Solberg
Oliver Solberg var med och kämpade om en topplacering i sin klass i Rally Monte-Carlo när debuten slutade med ett stopp i en snödriva på sista specialsträckan på söndagen.

19-åringen fastande med sin Hyundai i diket och utan någon publik på plats fanns det ingen hjälp att få för att komma tillbaka upp på vägen och kunna avsluta rallyt. Därmed bröts rallyt med endast ett fåtal kilometer kvar av tävlingen.
- Det var ett litet misstag som ledde till avkörningen, det är frustrerande att vi inte kunde slutföra tävlingen. Bilen fick inga skador så med lite hjälp skulle vi kunnat komma tillbaka upp på vägen och fortsatt till målet i Monaco. Men i den speciella situation vi befinner oss i utan publik längs sträckorna fanns det inget vi kunde göra. Jag väljer att fokusera på vad som gick bra i tävlingen, sa Oliver Solberg.

Söndagen började fantastiskt för Petter Solbergs son. På dagens första specialsträcka lyckades endast tre WRC-förare i huvudklassen matcha hastigheten hos den svenska-norska supertalangen. Fjärde tid totalt på sträckan med en R5-bil som är långt från VM-bilarnas kapacitet är häpnadsväckande.
- En fjärdeplats totalt på den sträckan är jag otroligt nöjd med, den upplevelsen är helt klart min bästa i en VM-tävling någonsin. Förhållandena var extremt svåra med svart is på vägen. Före varje sväng var det omöjligt att veta om däcken skulle få fäste eller inte.

Solberg tog två sträcksegrar (av 15 möjliga) i tävlingen där Andreas Mikkelsen och kartläsaren Ola Fløene vann Rally2-klassen överlägset. Efter ev besvärlig start på rallyt med tekniska problem var Oliver Solberg och kartläsaren Aaron Johnston med i sekundstriden om tredje platsen inför sista sträckan i R5-klassen.

Förra månaden tecknade Oliver Solberg ett tvåårigt kontrakt med regerande Team världsmästarna Hyundai Motorsport. Rally Monte-Carlo var hans VM-debut med den nya bilen och Solberg valde själv att starta tävlingen utan att nomineras till VM-poäng. Således räkas inte tävlingen in i 19-åringens VM-säsong.
- Jag börjar känna bilen bättre nu. Att börja med Monte-Carlo är en utmaning men också mycket lärorikt med tanke på svårighetsgraden av de olika förhållandena på vägarna, säger Oliver Solberg.

Nästa VM-tävling äger rum i Finland om en månad.
21-01-23 Ogier set for Rallye Monte-Carlo record win after Saturday surge
Frenchman holds 13-second lead over Evans with one day of action left. Sébastien Ogier took a huge step towards securing a historic eighth Rallye Monte-Carlo win on Saturday after recapturing the lead to head a clean sweep of the podium places for Toyota Gazoo Racing.

After losing top spot due to a flat tyre on Friday afternoon, Ogier regained the initiative from Elfyn Evans with a stunning drive in darkness on snow and ice-covered roads in this morning’s opening speed test. He distanced Evans by almost 18sec in the 18.31km stage.

The Frenchman retained his cool on polished snow in the next test. Although Evans claimed back time by winning the final stage, Ogier made the journey south to Monaco with a 13.0sec advantage in his Yaris with one day remaining.

"Conditions in this morning's opening stage were very difficult," said Ogier. "In some corners it didn't feel like we had any studs in our tyres. The conditions in the second run changed a lot since our safety crew passed so I had to trust what I saw."

Evans was relieved to stop time ebbing away with victory in the last test. "I needed that really. It's been a bit of a frustrating day. I haven't been on the money, but we'll try to keep the pressure on tomorrow," he said.

Kalle Rovanperä completed Toyota's treble in third. Victory on the middle of today's three stages enabled Thierry Neuville to close within a whisker in his Hyundai i20, but the young Finn repelled the pressure to end the day 7.0sec ahead. He was 43.8sec behind Evans.

Ott Tänak's hold on third ended when he punctured twice in successive stages. With just one spare onboard his i20 the Estonian limped to service, but organisers decided there was insufficient rubber on the rim to drive on the public road and he was forced out.

Dani Sordo was fifth, more than a minute adrift of team-mate Neuville. With Tänak sidelined in the other car and unable to restart tomorrow, the Spaniard must finish to deliver vital manufacturer points for the Korean squad so he eased his pace to avoid risks.

Japan's Takamoto Katsuta moved up to sixth in another Yaris, more than 2min 30sec back.

Sunday's new-look final leg features a double pass through Puget-Théniers – La Penne and Briançonnet – Entrevaux, totalling 54.48km. There will be no service and the second run through the latter forms the bonus points-paying Wolf Power Stage.

Leading positions after Saturday
1. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris 2hr 16min 31.9sec
2. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +13.0sec
3. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +56.8sec
4. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +1min 03.8sec
5. D Sordo / C del Barrio ESP Hyundai i20 +2min 11.3sec
6. T Katsuta / D Barritt GBR Toyota Yaris +4min 43.1sec
21-01-22 Leader Evans under attack from Rallye Monte-Carlo master Ogier
Welshman holds slender Friday lead over Frenchman with Tänak still in contention. Elfyn Evans led Rallye Monte-Carlo after Friday's second leg, but the Welshman was under severe pressure from angry world champion Sébastien Ogier.

Evans held a 7.4sec advantage over his Toyota Yaris team-mate, but Ogier is looming large in Evans' rear mirror after a stunning recovery from a puncture which cost him the lead.

With the brake problem that hindered him on Thursday resolved, Ogier was imperious on the French Alps roads near Gap to win all three morning speed tests and climb from fifth to first.

His 11.3sec advantage over Evans was wiped out after he spun and ended this afternoon's opening test with his front left wheel on the rim. He plunged to third, 23.4sec adrift, but the frustrated Frenchman bounced back to regain 16.0sec by winning the final test.

Ogier's recovery was remarkable as he drove that last stage with an unbalanced mix of three Pirelli winter tyres and one studded tyre on his Yaris.

"I'm here to win this rally – so I'm going to win it," said Ogier. "I was pushing in the final stage because I was angry. Conditions were very difficult with a lot of rain and we had to carry a studded tyre on the car. After a couple of kilometres it was starting to move at the rear."

Conditions changed all day, making tyre choice complicated. A morning mix of damp roads and ice gave way to persistent rain and mud this afternoon.

Evans was never outside the top three times, and won the penultimate test, but a damaged wheel meant he drove the final stage with the same unbalanced tyre mix as Ogier. He was sixth fastest.

"When conditions get more extreme, more slippery, I'm struggling for that last bit of feeling and I don't get the confidence I need to push," he admitted. "Seb had a fantastic day. He took a lot of risks and maybe I didn't take quite enough. We know there's a small advantage to running first on the road, but to be fair to him that wasn't 16sec.”

Leg 1 leader Ott Tänak was 17.5sec further back in third. The Estonian's Hyundai i20 lost power in this morning's tight hairpins and he was powerless to repel Ogier's charge into second in the final stage when his windows misted up.

Fourth-placed Kalle Rovanperä made it three Yaris cars in the top four, the Finn 53.1sec behind Evans. He took the lead in the morning's opening test but a mix of worsening road conditions and a 10sec penalty for arriving late at SS4 dropped him down the order.

He slid into a field early in the penultimate test but recovered to demote Thierry Neuville to fifth in the closing stage. Just 6.0sec split the duo, Neuville enjoying a better afternoon after toiling this morning with a poor tyre choice.

Team-mate Dani Sordo competed the top six another 50.5sec back. He had little confidence in his car's handling after making the same tyre selection error, but a more balanced choice this afternoon rejuvenated the Spaniard.

Saturday brings another early start with La Bréole - Selonnet launching the day in darkness at 06.30. Saint Clément – Freissinières precedes the final service in Gap, before a repeat of the opening test starts the long journey south to Monaco after 57.10km of competition.

Leading positions after Friday
1. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris 1hr 33min 57.5sec
2. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +7.4sec
3. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 +25.3sec
4. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +53.1sec
5. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +59.1sec
6. D Sordo / C del Barrio ESP Hyundai i20 +1min 49.6sec
21-01-21 Tänak double earns Rallye Monte-Carlo lead in WRC season opener
Suninen unhurt after crash as patchy ice tests drivers to the limit on Thursday. Ott Tänak won Thursday afternoon's opening two speed tests to claim the early lead at Rallye Monte-Carlo.

The Estonian crashed heavily in the FIA World Rally Championship's season-opener 12 months ago, but there were no mistakes today as he ended the short opening leg with a 3.3sec advantage over Kalle Rovanperä.

Tänak, driving a Hyundai i20, won the 20.58km special stage from Saint-Disdier to Corps by 3.0sec from the Finnish youngster. He added a further three tenths to his lead by taking the following 20.78km test from Saint-Maurice to Saint-Bonnet, despite stalling at the start.

Conditions in the opening test were wet but patchy ice early in the next stage made grip unpredictable. Nevertheless, Tänak, like virtually all the leading crews, opted for Pirelli's supersoft compound asphalt tyres.

"It was looking like quite a simple start to the Monte, normally we've never started in daylight and in these consistent conditions. In the end the first one wasn't so bad but the second one, with a lot of cuts and muddy places, was demanding with a lot of surprises," he explained.

Rovanperä enjoyed a trouble-free run in his Toyota Yaris to end the day 5.2sec clear of team-mate Elfyn Evans. The Welshman was almost caught out on a slippery right corner in SS1 and struggled to generate heat in his tyres in the early part of SS2.

Thierry Neuville was fourth in another i20, 16.0sec off his team-mate's pace. The Belgian was co-driven by Martijn Wydaeghe for the first time after splitting with long-term partner Nicolas Gilsoul last week. The pair settled in well, despite sound problems in the intercom.

Sébastien Ogier started his title defence in fifth, less than a second adrift of Neuville. The Frenchman had intermittent brake problems in his Yaris but had almost half a minute in hand over Dani Sordo, who was unnerved by a strange noise in his i20.

Pierre-Louis Loubet was seventh in a similar car, 25.1sec adrift of the Spaniard, with WRC2 leader Andreas Mikkelsen next up in a Skoda Fabia. Fellow support class contender Adrien Fourmaux was ninth with a frustrated Gus Greensmith tenth in his Ford Fiesta.

Takamoto Katsuta was just off the leaderboard after spinning his Yaris in both stages.

Teemu Suninen was the first retirement. The Finn set a storming pace through the opening test and was on course for fastest time before running wide into a bank, rolling back across the road and plunging down an embankment.

Friday hosts the 'meat' of the rally with almost 105km of competition across five stages west of Gap. Two loops of two tests sandwich a single pass through the longest stage of the weekend. The action kicks off before dawn at 06.10, with service after the first three tests.

Leading positions after Thursday
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 24m17.5s
2. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +3.3s
3. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +8.5s
4. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +16.0s
5. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Toyota Yaris +16.9s
21-01-20 Ogier chases eighth title as WRC season launches in Monte Carlo
Twelve rounds ahead for season that brings curtain down on World Rally Car era. Just 46 days after Sébastien Ogier sealed his seventh world title, the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship roars into life on Thursday (21 January) at the famous Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Twelve rounds lie in wait on four continents in a season that brings down the curtain on the World Rally Car era. Twenty-five years after being introduced, World Rally Cars will make way for an exciting new hybrid generation in 2022.

Ogier returns for his final WRC season, heading a Toyota Gazoo Racing line-up which is identical to last year. He is joined in Yaris cars by 2020 championship runner-up Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä.

Ogier bids for a record eighth Monte-Carlo victory on roads close to his birthplace near the host town of Gap, in the French Alps. But the 37-year-old is taking nothing for granted, especially after a test crash last week.

“Everybody knows that Rallye Monte-Carlo is the rally that I want to win the most. But it’s a rally that you have to face with a lot of humility because it’s always challenging with the conditions and you have to be really clever to win it,” he said.

The rally, which celebrates its 110th anniversary, is the most unpredictable on the calendar. Conditions can vary from snow and ice to wet and dry asphalt on the same stage, making tyre selection fiendishly hard but crucially important as teams hunt for the best compromise.

Italian manufacturer Pirelli returns as the championship’s tyre supplier after a 10-year absence to add a further element of uncertainty, but it’s a challenge Ogier relishes.

“We will need to adapt to the new tyres, especially on Monte-Carlo when we have a bigger package available than any other event. But I’m looking forward to it because for me it’s an interesting aspect of rallying: To try and make the best tyre strategy and use them as best as you can,” he said.

Hyundai Motorsport defends the manufacturers’ title, with Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak leading the attack. Neuville starts on the back foot after splitting with co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul last week. Martijn Wydaeghe replaces him but the pair have not tested together.

Dani Sordo pilots the third i20, a car he will share during the season with Ireland’s Craig Breen.

Teemu Suninen and Britain’s Gus Greensmith return in M-Sport Ford’s Fiesta, the Finn with former co-driver Mikko Markkula returning to his side.

Toyota development driver Takamoto Katsuta and Pierre-Louis Loubet complete the frontrunners in the 84-car entry.

The rally starts in Gap on Thursday lunchtime and competitors face 14 speed tests covering 257.64km before Sunday afternoon’s finish in Monaco.
21-01-14 Two-year WRC contract for Rally Estonia
WRC Promoter and Rally Estonia signed a two-year contract
Passion, commitment and team spirit ensured a spot in WRC calendar
Rally Estonia aims a longer success in WRC

WRC Rally Estonia 2020, the first ever Estonian WRC round was a success. On Wednesday, January 13, 2021 an agreement between WRC Promoter and Rally Estonia was signed by Managing Director Jona Siebel and Rally Estonia Commercial Director Tarmo Hõbe. Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas announced at the press conference that Rally Estonia has joined the WRC calendar for 2021 and 2022.

The two-year contract is a sign of trust from the FIA and WRC Promoter to the Estonian government and Rally Estonia organising team. As a sign of recognition, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas presented Estonian e-residency to FIA Rally Director Yves Matton, Managing Director of WRC Promoter Jona Siebel and President of the Estonian Autosport Union Ari Vatanen. All three were participating at the press conference online and e-residency enabled them to sign the contracts digitally during the press conference.

Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of Estonian Republic: “It was an honour to announce that Rally Estonia is a part of the WRC calendar in 2021 as well as 2022. It shows that we have earned a trust of the stakeholders. The fact that we managed to organise a safe Rally Estonia with no infections was highly rated both internationally and here in Estonia. My congratulations to the organisers, partners and all the rally fans in the world. I’m sure that Estonia’s position in rally world will strengthen.“

Yves Matton, FIA Rally Director: „It is a part of the process and long commitment from Estonian Autosport Union and Rally Estonia organisers. They are involved organising rally since 2010 trying to achieve high level events. They were part of European championship. After that they deserved a right to organise WRC Promotional Event. It was success where all the manufacturers were involved. In 2020 under special circumstances, they were able to organise WRC event. They showcased that they really have the high level of competence and bringing new ideas and fresh approach to the series. They convinced FIA, WRC Promoter and all the stakeholders that this event has the level to join the calendar for 2021 and 2022.”

Jona Siebel, WRC Promoter Managing Director: „There were many factors which led to this agreement. First of all, the performance of last year’s event was one of the key aspects here. The second factor is the passion, especially the passion of the Estonian rally fans which is really great. Of course, that played a big part in Ott Tänak’s and Martin Järveoja’s World Championship titles for sure. And the third factor is commitment. It’s all about the commitment. Our understanding is that all Estonia is committed. The government, the whole organising team, the fans. Everybody is committed. Two years is a clear signal from FIA and WRC Promoter, it fits.”

Ari Vatanen, President of Estonian Autosport Union: „The organising team of Rally Estonia has done superb work. And we know they were capable of organising top-class events. The situation in the world last year pushed some processes to move faster and the dream became a reality. The Estonian Government, especially Prime Minister Jüri Ratas play a big part in the success of last year’s Rally Estonia and in this agreement. The support from the government is very important. What I have seen here is a great team spirit in everything. This team spirit brought WRC to Estonia and I believe it can keep WRC in Estonia.”

Urmo Aava, Rally Estonia Director: „Ten years ago it seemed impossible to organise a WRC event in Estonia. But we wanted to be better every year and it keeps our focus sharp. I believe that we have still room for improvement almost everywhere. We understand what and where we must do, and we are already working to deliver another great event. We have a unique opportunity to start a tradition here. Our goal is not just two years in the calendar, our goal is a longer success in WRC.”

The second edition of WRC Rally Estonia will run on 15-18 July.
21-01-14 Arctic Rally Finland joins 2021 FIA World Rally Championship
· Snow and ice fixture added to WRC schedule on 26 - 28 February
· Rovaniemi hosts all-new second round of 2021 season in Lapland
· Rally Finland gravel round retains existing date on 29 July - 1 August

The FIA World Rally Championship will venture into the Arctic Circle for the first time next month after WRC Promoter today added Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox to the 2021 calendar.

The all-new snow and ice event will be based in Rovaniemi on 26 - 28 February and replaces the cancelled Rally Sweden as the WRC’s only pure winter encounter. It forms round two of the 12-event fixture list.

The announcement means the Nordic country will host two WRC rounds this year. Rally Finland, held on iconic rollercoaster gravel roads around Jyväskylä, will take place on 29 July - 1 August.

Rovaniemi, the capital of Finland’s northernmost Lapland province, lies just outside the Arctic Circle. The competition will take place inside the region, where temperatures can plunge below -30°C in February.

The city is famously known as the home of Santa Claus (or Joulupukki as he is called in Finland) and also attracts high tourist numbers to view the stunning Aurora Borealis displays – better known as the Northern Lights.

The rally starts on Friday 26 February with a morning shakedown, ahead of the opening special stages that evening. Saturday features three tests driven twice ahead of Sunday’s final leg, which closes with the Wolf Power Stage. The 10 stages cover 260km.

The rally will run under strict national, local and FIA Covid-19 procedures and organisers will follow all protocols on whether fans will be allowed.

WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel was impressed by promoter AKK Sports’ determination to organise the rally at short notice.

“Since it was confirmed in December that Rally Sweden would not take place, we’ve been working hard with AKK Sports, the city of Rovaniemi and the enthusiasts there to try to make this event happen. It’s been a tough race against time and my thanks go to all involved,” he said.

“Although the rally starts in just 44 days, we know AKK will leave no stone unturned to ensure it reaches the same high standards as the traditional summertime Rally Finland.

“Winter rallies provide some of the sport’s most spectacular action. A winter wonderland of full snow and big snow banks lining the roads are a driver’s dream, so I think the WRC is in for a great time!”

AKK Sports CEO Riku Bitter is delighted at how quickly Rovaniemi embraced the idea of a WRC round at such short notice.

“We set out to look into the matter and explore our possibilities. Of the various different options, Rovaniemi, with its solid culture in organising winter rallies, good reputation as an international event city and large number of enthusiastic and experienced rally-makers stood out,” he said.

FIA rally director Yves Matton said: “With Arctic Rally Finland joining the WRC calendar, we will experience a rally in a region that has always made us dream and where conditions promise to be optimal for a snow event.

“Following the unfortunate cancellation of Rally Sweden in December, this is proof that with challenges can come opportunities.

“I would like to thank AKK and the organising team for their commitment, professionalism and determination, which enables them to make a second round in Finland a reality within a short time window. We will give all our help and support to ensure a great success for this new round.”

The revised calendar is subject to FIA approval.
21-01-13 Rally Estonia is Asahi Kasei Team Spirit Award winner
After pulling together their maiden WRC event in just 63 days, the Rally Estonia organising team has been voted as the 2020 recipient of the Asahi Kasei Team Spirit Award.

Drawing in thousands of votes on wrc.com, the Estonian organising team won out over Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT, Toksport and M-Sport Ford. In a season that was heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, Estonia was brought onto the calendar as a replacement event, and was the first run under strict new Covid-19 regulations.

Urmo Aava, Rally Estonia Director: “This award is a great recognition to our team and Estonia. We are pleased that FIA and WRC Promoter believed and trusted us, it really means a lot. It was big effort to have spectators in Rally Estonia. It wasn’t easy for them, but they showed their best sides and we really appreciate it. Our team, all the people who have put their effort for ten years, thank you! All this couldn’t have happened without the support and cooperation from Estonian government and our partners. Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone who voted for Rally Estonia!”

With the eyes of the rallying world focused on the Baltic nation, Rally Estonia organisers successfully executed a Covid-safe event and did enough to earn themselves a spot back on the calendar for 2021.

The icing on the cake for the organisers, was seeing local hopeful Ott Ta¨nak standing atop the podium on Sunday afternoon.

Staying true to their team spirit, the organisers produced a thank you message featuring gratitude from a number of members of their team, who thanked the FIA, WRC Promoter, Estonian government and the fans for their support.

The second edition of Rally Estonia will run from 15-18 July.

21-01-08 Belgium added to 2021 FIA World Rally Championship
· Renties Ypres Rally Belgium joins 2021 WRC calendar
· Belgium hosts World Rally Championship for the first time
· Asphalt fixture replaces UK’s Rally Northern Ireland in August
· British event shelved due to continuing Covid challenges
· Focus turns towards securing 2022 WRC round in Northern Ireland

Belgium will stage a round of the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time after Renties Ypres Rally Belgium was today (Friday) added to the 2021 calendar.

The asphalt event will take place in August on a date to be confirmed. It will replace the UK’s proposed fixture in Northern Ireland, which has unfortunately been deferred for this year due to uncertainty over public funding relative to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Belgium will become the 35th nation to stage a WRC round – at the second time of asking ­– since the series started in 1973. Last November’s round in Ypres was called off due to Covid-19.

Ypres was first held in 1965 and has become established as one of Europe’s most demanding rallies. Previous winners include current Hyundai Motorsport driver and home hero Thierry Neuville in 2018 and team-mate Craig Breen the following year.

The rally will feature three days of competition with an atmospheric service park in Ypres’ historic Grote Markt.

Jona Siebel, managing director of WRC Promoter, the commercial rights holder for the championship, said Ypres would be an appetising encounter for teams, drivers and co-drivers.

“Ypres has been a hugely popular cornerstone of European rallying for more than half a century. Its elevation to the WRC will provide one of the season’s sternest challenges and I’m delighted the championship will finally visit Belgium after last year’s unfortunate delay,” he added.

“Its tricky mix of narrow asphalt lanes with big ditches lining the roads, allied with some stages in the dark and the potential for mixed weather, will provide plenty of thrills and spills for fans.”

Siebel acknowledged the difficulties of Rally Northern Ireland obtaining the required government support in such challenging times.

“It’s sad the WRC will not enjoy the beauty of Northern Ireland this year, but the pandemic continues to impact the global economy. Our enthusiasm for a WRC round there remains strong and we look forward to continuing our discussions for 2022,” he said.

FIA Rally Director Yves Matton said: “The 2021 calendar has been developed against the backdrop of the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and we knew we would possibly face ongoing issues in this new year.”

“Bobby Willis and his team have put in a lot of work and efforts to bring the WRC to Northern Ireland and we’re very disappointed there will be no rally in the UK this year,” he added.

“It is a chance for Ypres Rally Belgium to step in after last year’s attempt. It will showcase the DNA of rally with a route that links Ypres to Spa-Francorchamps, two iconic venues of Belgian motorsport. I very much look forward to it.”

In October, Renties Ypres Rally Belgium was named on the WRC’s 2021 reserve list and Alain Penasse, president of event organiser Club Superstage, said the rally was ready to take its place on the calendar.

“Last year our volunteers proved they could switch quickly and organise a WRC event at short notice. Sadly it didn’t happen, but we will be delighted to welcome the WRC for the first time in mid-August,” he said.

“Broadly speaking, we will use last year’s proposed format again. This was clearly appreciated by the participants as the entry list for the 2020 edition looked impressive with 140 teams registered.”

Rally Northern Ireland promoter Bobby Willis explained that requisite public funding was unavailable to support a successful WRC event this year due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

“Tourism Northern Ireland recognises that hosting Rally Northern Ireland in 2021 represented a positive opportunity to profile the region globally, and would serve to celebrate Northern Ireland’s motorsport heritage.

“However, it feels Covid-19 could diminish the substantial economic benefits WRC historically bestows upon its host regions, and therefore investment would not represent best value for public money at this time.

“We must accept the situation for 2021 and focus on our discussions to explore the avenues for 2022,” he said.

The agreement in principle between WRC Promoter and Renties Ypres Rally Belgium is subject to FIA and ASN (national sporting authority) agreement.

.Tryck här för mer info!