Rovanperä among WRC stars in Rally Finland Esports event

M-Sport and Toyota drivers will be rallying in Jyväskylä, at least virtually

Ott Tanak

Four factory World Rally Championship drivers will compete on a WRC-sanctioned Rally Finland Esports event, which takes place on the same day as the canceled 2020 rally was supposed to take place.

The Rally Finland eChallenge will feature M-Sport’s Esapekka Lappi and Teemu Suninen, along with Toyota works duo Kalle Rovanperä and Takamoto Katsuta, as star participants.

Former Ferrari Formula 1 driver Mika Salo, who has competed regularly in Esports since the coronavirus pandemic began, will also feature.

A qualifying shootout for Esports specialists will also place on July 30 – August 1, with the fastest drivers qualifying for the main event the following week.

WRC 8 – the championship’s official video game – will be used for the event, as it features real-world Rally Finland stages past and present including Ouninpohja and Harju. The specific set of stages being used for the virtual event will be unveiled at a later date.

Fans will be permitted to attend the event in-person at Jyväskylä Harbour, the same location as the real-world Rally Finland service park, with attendance capped at 1000 people.

Jari-Matti Latvala & Miikka Anttila - Lifestyle

The crowd size Rally Finland would have attracted had it gone ahead

Photo: Victor Engström

The main event also takes place on August 8, which would have been the penultimate day of action for Rally Finland had the event gone ahead this year.

It will be streamed online by the WRC on its official channels and in Finland by state broadcaster YLE.

“The entire rally community deserves some hype and great rally atmosphere this year – and to enjoy it all together,” said Lappi.

“It’s great to see this event bringing people together from across the board, from different motorsport series and disciplines. And it will also definitely demonstrate why digital motorsport is constantly growing in popularity.

“We haven’t been told which Neste Rally Finland special stages we’ll be driving in the WRC, yet, but I hope they have included a couple of my favorite ones”

Finnish motorsport federation AKK’s national Esports series, which uses the iRacing platform rather than WRC 8, will also take place at the same event.