Rally Finland fate may not be known before mid-June

WRC event may yet postpone despite closed-roads difficulty


Rally Finland’s fate will not be known before the middle of June, according to clerk of the course Kai Tarkiainen.

There has been intense speculation on whether the next three proposed World Rally Championship counters in Kenya, Finland, and New Zealand will be able to run due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

The Finnish government recently confirmed there would be no mass gatherings of 500 people or more before the end of July – but they caveated that by confirming a review in early June.

Waiting for the end of July is not an option for Tarkiainen and his team.

“It’s not just us here in Finland,” he said, “there are a whole load of festivals and events scheduled to be running in early August and we need to know as early as possible.

“The Olympic stadium in Helsinki is, for example, re-opening after redevelopment and that’s an event which would be attended by thousands of people.

“When all of this hullabaloo started, we said we would make a decision by the middle of June, well before entries close – that way we’ll know and the competitors will know what the plan is.

“We’re expecting more news from the government on Sunday, so it’s possible there might be another statement on mass gatherings then.”

Postponing Rally Finland is a complicated procedure, given the event’s use of closed public roads.

Tarkiainen put the road-closing orders in place on March 26 for the proposed August 6-9 date, meaning another five months’ notice to all residents living along that route would be needed if those dates were to change.

But Tarkiainen would not dismiss the potential for postponement, adding: “We’re keeping our options open right now. We’re still hopeful to run on the original date, so let’s listen to what the government has to say.”