Rally Finland will remain on the World Rally Championship calendar for the next two seasons in a deal extension announced at this year’s 70th anniversary event.
Present since the world championship’s creation in 1973, only on two occasions has the famous event – previously known as the 1000 Lakes Rally – not been a points-scoring event in the intervening years. In 1995 it contributed to the FIA 2-Litre World Rally Cup instead, and last year it was canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WRC Promoter’s managing director Jona Siebel and Riku Bitter, chief executive officer of Finland’s motorsport governing body AKK Sports, met in the Jyväskylä City Hall by the rally service park to officially sign the contract for the next two seasons on Thursday.
“Rally Finland is one of the jewels in the WRC’s crown and fans across the globe will be delighted with this news,” said Siebel. “It is, after all, hard to imagine a WRC season without a visit to Finland’s breathtaking roller-coaster roads.
“For now, everyone is excited and looking forward to a wonderful 2021 event this weekend. On behalf of WRC Promoter and the sport’s fans, I thank AKK Sports for its efforts and perseverance in making the rally happen against the backdrop and difficulties caused by the pandemic.”
The event is the 10th to secure its place on next season’s calendar, and one of several rallies to already gain an under-demand spot for 2023 too. Finland has two rallies in the WRC this year, but the announcement of the deal extension did not reference the future of Arctic Rally Finland’s place on the calendar for next season.
“On behalf of AKK Sports it gives me great pleasure to confirm Rally Finland will remain a key part of the WRC for at least another two years,” Bitter said.
“I thank Jona Siebel and his team at WRC Promoter for their continued support and belief in our event. I must also thank the Rally Finland stakeholders for their unwavering commitment and, of course, the fans for their backing, particularly in light of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While remaining part of the WRC family is, of course, a great privilege and a key target, it’s particularly the case given the advent of the hybrid-based Rally1 regulations and the WRC’s switch to sustainable fuel from the 2022 season.
“Naturally we will do all we can to ensure Rally Finland remains part of the WRC for the long term but, for now, our immediate focus is on delivering a fantastic and truly memorable 70th anniversary event in conjunction with our title sponsor, Secto Automotive.”