TALLINN - Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas, Minister of Culture Tonis Lukas, Minister of Finance Martin Helme, Rally Estonia Director Urmo Aava and Oliver Ciesla, managing director of World Rally Championship (WRC) promoter GmbH on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding and an organization agreement, whereby an official WRC stage will be held in southern Estonia from Sept. 4 to 6 when the 2020 series restarts following an enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"This historical moment today is the result of determined contributions by many people to the professional organization of rally events over many years as well as them sparking audiences' interest and engaging in international cooperation. With this step, Estonia once again proves its position in the world of rally -- in addition to being the homeland of a world champion, we are now one of the states organizing a world championship stage," Ratas said.
"The WRC rally stage is more than just a unique opportunity to organize a global sports event in Estonia. Holding the round will increase our visibility in the world, contribute greatly to our economy and regional development," the prime minister said, adding that the WRC round will also boost the development of Estonian motor sport and foster a next generation of rally drivers.
"I would like to thank and congratulate the Rally Estonia team, their cooperation partners, local governments and the holder of the WRC organization right. The activities and decisions of them all have made it possible for Estonian people to see with their own eyes the reigning champion compete to defend his title with the support of his home audience," he said.
"It was ten years of hard work by our team that delivered today's result -- this is a dream come true. Our team has grown over the years, and we are united in our passion towards what we are doing and what we believe in! We wouldn't be here without our cooperation partners -- the Estonian state with its institutions, local governments, private sector supporters and those involved in the organization of the top rally event, and hundreds of thousands of rally fans all over the world. A lot of them have been with us from the very beginning. This is our opportunity to deliver a very good performance in a short time -- one that would guarantee Estonia and Estonian motor sport a place in the FIA WRC calendar in the future," the director of Rally Estonia, Urmo Aava, said.
Rally Estonia, the first ever FIA WRC stage to be held in Estonia, will take place from Sept. 4 to 6 on the roads of Tartu, Otepaa, Elva, Kanepi and Kambja.