TALLINN - WRC Promoter and Rally Estonia have signed an agreement according to which Rally Estonia will also be a World Rally Championship (WRC) event in 2021 and 2022.
Jona Siebel, managing director of the WRC, and business director of Rally Estonia Tarmo Hobe signed a contract on Wednesday according to which Rally Estonia will remain a part of the WRC calendar also in 2021 and 2022, spokespeople for Rally Estonia said. Likewise signed was a memorandum of understanding between the Estonian Ministry of Culture, WRC Promoter, the Estonian Autosport Union and Rally Estonia.
At a press conference held on Wednesday, Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas granted e-residency of Estonia to Siebel, FIA rally director Yves Matton and president of the Estonian Autosport Union Ari Vatanen, which enabled the recipients to sign the documents digitally.
"The 2020 Rally Estonia was a great success. Thus, I am all the more pleased to announce that Rally Estonia has also been granted the right to hold a WRC event here this year as well as the next. This demonstrates trust in us, and the organizers managing to hold the event in COVID-19 conditions without any infections was greatly appreciated by international organizations and the Estonian Health Board alike," Ratas said.
Minister of Culture Tonis Lukas said that the World Rally Championship provides a good opportunity to introduce Estonia, its culture and history, all of which entails a positive economic impact for the country.
FIA rally director, Yves Matton, said that the agreement had been the result of a 10-year process and a lot of commitment by the Estonian Autosport Union and organizers of Rally Estonia.
"Last year, they got a chance to organize a stage of the FIA World Rally Championship, and it became clear that they had the skills and knowledge for organizing a WRC event and bringing a new approach to the championship. This convinced FIA, WRC Promoter and all parties that this rally is capable and ready to join the FIA World Rally Championship series this year and next year," Matton said.
"We have a clear understanding and knowledge as to what and where we need to do to be even better in the coming years. As a small state and nation, we want to be the best as it gives us a chance to stand out in the world. Traditions are very important here, and we're not just striving towards [organizing Rally Estonia] for the next two years -- we're aiming for a longer success story in the WRC series," Rally Estonia head organizer Urmo Aava said.
Rally Estonia 2021 is a FIA WRC stage scheduled to take place on the roads of Tartu, Otepaa, Elva, Kanepi, Kambja and elsewhere in southern Estonia on July 15-18.