One day down, two to go. Rally Estonia is now well underway, but there is plenty of competitive mileage lying in wait as the rally enters its second full day of competition on Saturday.
We’ve called upon WRC2 ace Sean Johnston to give us his guide to the Estonian stages this weekend. Unfortunately Johnston and co-driver Alex Kihurani were caught out on the final stage of Friday, rolling their Citröen C3 Rally2 on the final stage, showing just how challenging the Estonian stages are.
Like the previous day, leg three once again consists of four stages repeated either side of a service break, but there’s also a revisit to the Tartu superspecial to round out the action and a rather rude awakening…
SS10/14 Peipsiääre (14.62 miles)
A brand new stage for 2021 and the longest one of the rally as well. An opening blast through a quarry area spits us out into a relatively mild forest section before a junction left turns us onto the longest stretch of asphalt we’ll see throughout the rally.
The next bit of forest is very claustrophobic with the narrowest bit of road all weekend with lots of bushes and foliage in the line of the cars to make the effect even more pronounced. The road then opens back up to more standard rally Estonia roads, typical of the region that bring us to the end of the stage. No particularly big jumps on this one, except the steep transition out of the quarry right at the very beginning which should be interesting.
SS11/15 Mustvee (7.63 miles)
Another brand new stage for 2021, and the first two miles a solid representation of Rally Estonia forest action before a junction right onto an asphalt stretch. This stretch is different though as it has crews leave the main road twice for little trips into the forest before the next proper junction comes and sends us back into the woods for most of the rest of the stage.
The following is a mix of some technical sections and higher speed fast and flowing forest roads, with just a few miles of wide, main gravel roads near the end. Another nice addition to the rally Estonia route this year.
SS12/16 Raanitsa (14.2 miles)
The first two miles are new for 2021 before we join the stage from last year. In the middle there’s a several-mile stretch of super wide, ridiculously fast and flowing road.
There’s only one monster jump on this one but it’s not so challenging as the line is straightforward and the road is wide and straight. All the guys in the Rally2 cars are going to wish they had another gear and the same aero as the World Rally Cars on this one!
SS13/17 Vastsemõisa (4.16 miles)
Starts off as the Kaagvere stage from last year, before switching to the end of the Otepää stage from last year. So all familiar roads to the crews, but in a different configuration.
The first miles are not as claustrophobic this year as they’ve done some logging, so the sight lines make the narrow and twisty beginning of the stage a bit easier to manage. The spectator section in the middle remains mostly unchanged. The last few miles are a nice standard width road with a few small jumps and an enjoyable rhythm.
SS18 Tartu (1.01 miles)
Longer, tighter, and a bit less interesting with more anti-cut stones set up on the apexes and exits in comparison to the spectator super special from last year. I miss the little mini-loop around the pond that we did in the 2020 configuration, but it’ll still be a fun enough way to end Saturday night!