FIA rally director Yves Matton has told DirtFish Rally Estonia’s debut in the World Rally Championship was strong enough to play the Tartu-based event into contention for a series return in coming years.
Estonia’s debut WRC round was prepared in 63 days, having been canceled as a WRC Promotional event back in February.
Asked if the job done was good enough to land a place in next year’s series, Matton told DirtFish: “It’s too early to say, but for sure we can say in a normal situation what they have achieved could give them the right to be in the list of the potential events that have the right to join the championship.
“We know we have less slots than events, but at least it would give them the right to be on the list for events that potentially join the calendar.”
Matton said he was impressed across the board with the event, adding: “The feedback I have seen is that the level they were able to achieve is really, really incredible – it’s a top-level event for WRC and they only had a few weeks to do the job.
“It’s not only that they organize a rally at WRC level, but it’s also that they have to put in place all this COVID process which had a lot of complications. It’s also important the help they received from the government to re-start the WRC at such high level.”
The event was reported to have benefitted from €2.5m ($2.9m) investment from the government.
“It’s quite positive for the championship that in a situation which is difficult,” Matton added. “It gives us some flexibility and it brings some new blood inside the championship. They have been able to achieve one of the best rallies we will have in the championship this year.”
Six-time world champion Sébastien Ogier was also impressed with what he found from Tartu and his second trip to Estonia in three weeks (having tackled the South Estonia Rallyi a fortnight earlier).
“For the first time in the World Rally Championship, the Rally Estonia organizers did a fantastic job,” he said. “The event was very well organized and everybody enjoy to be here. The roads were nice to drive and a lot of fun. This event was very positive.”