Rally Estonia’s arrival in the World Rally Championship signals the end of a short road for the inaugural Rally DirtFish.
The organizers of the Otepää-based event have taken the decision – on the back of the news all Estonian rally fans have been waiting for – to cancel Rally DirtFish (scheduled for August 7/8).
Once the country’s position on the WRC calendar was confirmed, Rally DirtFish happily stepped aside.
DirtFish CEO Justin Simpson explained the move, saying: “Rally DirtFish in Otepää was born out of the idea that Estonia could still have a high-profile rally this year, even if it was not a WRC event.
“With our association to Ott [Tänak] and connections to the Estonian Autosport Union, we wanted to help do whatever we could to make such a rally happen.
“Now, with the highest-profile rallying in the world coming to Ott’s backyard, there’s no need to take away focus or resources from that. We are genuinely excited for Estonia and all the rally fans there to see a WRC round this year.”
Rally DirtFish had been scheduled to use the same south Estonia roads planned for the country’s maiden WRC round and keeping the roads in pristine condition was another factor in the decision to cancel the event.
Simpson added: “We’ve gotten a good taste for what a Rally DirtFish event could be and the opportunities that hosting our own rally presents.
“I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that this isn’t the end of Rally DirtFish – on either side of the Atlantic.”
Tänak was quick to thank DirtFish for immediately stepping up last month.
“It would have been nice to run Rally DirtFish,” said the reigning world champion, “and it would have been a cool event. But we have to focus to the WRC round.
“I want to thank Justin and his team for all the work they did to help and everything they had planned for Rally DirtFish.
“It’s good news that they’re ready to help out with WRC round. It’s going to be special to have the world championship coming in Estonia and I’m sure DirtFish will help make it a really interesting show – we can make some nice work together.”