Tänak’s not the only rockstar in Estonia this week

It’s not necessarily a duo you’d have put together, but the Tänak-Adams combo make south Estonia the place to be

Ott Tänak

It’s the summer of ’24 and this one comes straight from the heart: what do Bryan Adams and Ott Tänak have in common? Please forgive me. There really is a genuine connection between the Canadian singer-song writer and the 2019 World Rally champion.

Does it come straight from the heart? Possibly not.

Both, it turns out, will be entertaining the masses in Tartu, Estonia on Sunday.

Tänak will, of course, be driving his Hyundai i20 N Rally1 at Rally Estonia while Adams sends the six-string at the Tartu Song Festival Grounds.


Urmo Aava is the man behind Rally Estonia success in both the world and European series

Tänak will be busy enough honing the setup of his Hyundai ahead of the WRC’s trips to Latvia and Finland, but what about Adams? Will he be watching Tänak and Europe’s leading rally drivers north of Otepää on Sunday?

“I hope he will come,” smiled rally director Urmo Aava. “I don’t know, maybe I am a little bit dreaming…”

This must be something of a strange week for Aava and his team. It’s five years since he’s had a summer without a World Rally Championship round to worry about. This time around it’s ERC rather than WRC for Tartu, as Latvia steps up to the world championship in its place.

Does that mean an easier shift for Aava? Not by the sounds of it. Typically, the Estonians have seen the shifting spotlight as an excuse to work even harder, to push the boundaries even further.

“If we are lazy then we lose the innovation,” Aava told DirtFish. “OK, we have a little bit less budget this year, but we still have the chance to make changes, to make things even better for everybody. We are, for example, combining more spectator areas to give greater choice to the fans. Now in maybe a 500-meter walk you can find some really fast places or you can go to the forest and watch in a more technical place.

“We have worked the route and the itinerary for the two rallies (the main ERC round and the national event which follows and is headlined by Tänak) to give fans the best chance to see the cars, but also to make the traffic jams smaller and help people walk a little bit more in the nature.”

And, joking aside, Aava has worked closely with the organizers of the Bryan Adams concert.

“There’s other concerts as well [that week],” he said. “We are looking at ways to give people the chance to enjoy both events – it’s just another good reason to being people to the south of Estonia.”

Tänak himself will run behind the main field of ERC competitors – something Aava was keen to see happen.

“We have to remember this is the ERC show,” he said. “The [national] event runs behind the main field and this doesn’t change – and anyway, running in this place can give Ott a good simulation of the second pass of stages.


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“Like you can imagine, we are very happy to have Ott and Martin [Järveoja] with us again – they will make so many fans happy to see them and, of course, to see the Hyundai Rally1 car as well.”

Estonia will be back to the world championship next season, but in the meantime, all eyes will be on Latvia in a fortnight’s time. Including Aava’s.

“We have a good co-operation with Latvia,” he said. “We have been very, very open for this and not afraid for what it might mean for Estonia. We want more people in this area to understand what the World Rally Championship is about. This collaboration is a very good thing – we’ve been working together to make sure they avoid some of the first-year mistakes we might have made.”

So, people of Estonia, it’s clear: everything Aava does, he does for you.