Life in lockdown with Martin Järveoja

Cartoons and home renovations getting World Champion co-driver through prolonged down period


Reigning World Rally Champion co-driver Martin Järveoja is, quite literally, smashing his coronavirus lockdown period at home in Estonia.

The man who Ott Tänak spends much of his life listening to has spent the last couple of months knocking things down while renovating his grandparent’s farmhouse.

Järveoja said: “It was in a really bad condition, so I’ve been channelling the character Wreck-it Ralph quite a lot. I’ve learned to work with an excavator which has been a lot of fun. I’m now a pro in demolition work! If you need an excavator man then let me know.”

With that job done, he’s keen to be back in the saddle again – but this time out of the ‘WRC bubble’ has given him the ideal opportunity to spend time with his family.

“At the start,” he said, “I was a bit happy to have a little break. After three years in the WRC bubble, I was hoping to spend a little bit more time with my family. We’ve been watching a lot of cartoons – Peppa Pig is top of our playlist. Now that I have it, I think I have to make the most out of it.”

Absence – and it’s now 67 days since the last WRC action a Rally México Saturday – has made the heart grow even fonder for Hyundai Motorsport’s world champion co-driver.

“I’m really missing rallying,” he said. “Sometimes when you need something, when you’re passionate and you have to wait for it, then in the end when it finally happens the more satisfied you are. I think it’s the case for everybody – the fans, the teams, and the crews. For sure the feeling when we finally get a chance to sit in the car again will be at the maximum level.”

But for now, elements of normal life in Estonia are slowly starting to return – which means less need for YouTube-sourced 1990s exercise regimes.

“The weather in Estonia is pretty nice,” he said, “so I’ve been running and going cycling which I enjoy a lot. At the beginning of the lockdown period, all the indoor gyms and activity facilities were closed down. My wife got really into some fitness videos on YouTube, so I started to join her as well. We were doing some really old school stuff from the 90s – the older it is, the better! Our five-year-old daughter also got involved. But now as the weather is getting better, it is more enjoyable to train outside again.

“The situation in Estonia is slowly starting to normalize. The borders with Baltic countries are opening up, as well as schools, shopping malls, gyms and pools. However, we are still in an emergency situation, so we must keep distance and stay away as much as possible.”