World Rally Champion Ott Tänak has urged caution from the Rally Estonia organizers in the way they build jumps on the stages of September’s inaugural WRC round.
Last year’s event had significant world championship presence as a WRC promotional event, but the 2020 event will be the first time Tänak’s home nation has hosted a WRC qualifier.
Event officials have begun working on the roads in recent years to add more height to the jumps, essentially aping the Finnish ‘yumps’ for which the Tartu-based event has become an annual shakedown.
While it wasn’t one of the jumps which had been heavily modified, Elfyn Evans was ruled out of two WRC rounds after injuring his back on a heavy landing in Estonia last year. Tänak told DirtFish he hadn’t seen the route for his home round of the WRC, issued last month.
“The only thing I’ve read from the media is that they are still building quite a few roads,” Tänak said.
“I think they have more than 20 kilometers that they’re still working on. They are building some Rally Estonia-spec jumps. Basically they are putting some extra material on the natural jumps to make the cars go more light.
“Last year they went a bit too far, hopefully they learned from that and they won’t make this mistake again.”
Tänak added that the work on the jumps would help in the organizer’s efforts to lower the average speed from the 75mph Tänak managed when he won last year – a record which is just 3.7mph shy of the WRC’s own record set by Kris Meeke when he won Rally Finland in 2016.
“If you make the jumps more technical, you will lose some speed,” said Tänak.
“If you have some corners with crests on, building them into jumps will bring the speed down.”
Six months on from the conclusion of a shortened Rally México, Rally Estonia kicks off on Friday September 4 with a 3.87-mile shakedown stage at Abissaare. The event proper gets going with a 0.79-mile superspecial in Tartu.
Saturday features two runs through five stages, offering 90 competitive miles, with the 12-mile Prangli test the longest of the loop. The day starts at 6:33am and finishes at 7:24pm.
Sunday’s departure from parc ferme is at 6:02am, with six stages (two loops of three) totaling 52 miles. The Raadi finish podium is at 3:30pm.