As the home of Father Christmas, it should come as no surprise that Rovaniemi is the city that keeps on giving. It certainly does as far as the World Rally Championship’s concerned.
A cost-benefit investigation into Arctic Rally Finland has delivered the sort of numbers to give the tourism-dependent people of the Lapland capital something to smile about in these pandemic-hit times. From the point of view of you and I, the numbers are good enough to prompt discussions about a Rovaniemi return with WRC Promoter.
CEO of AKK Sports (Finland’s national sporting body) Riku Bitter is the man to table those talks.
“Arctic Rally Finland was a clear demonstration of what could be achieved in a very short space of time when dedicated individuals join forces and go to great lengths to deliver a first-class international sporting event,” said Bitter.
“It was an event that underlined in no uncertain terms all that is good about expertise within Finnish motorsport.
“The cooperation with local partners and local authorities was excellent. From the point of view of AKK Sports, the desired financial result was achieved, in that the costs required to run the event were reimbursed in full so there was no loss of money whatsoever. As a result of the very successful first edition of Arctic Rally Finland we have expressed to the WRC Promoter our readiness to hold another winter WRC rally in the future.”
But what were the numbers? And what do they mean?
If Santa’s the most important man in Rovaniemi, Sanna Kärkkäinen is probably the most important lady. She’s the managing director of Visit Rovaniemi. And if the WRC fancies a return to the Arctic Circle, Finnish-style, it’s Kärkkäinen who needs to be on the same page.
Seems she’s fairly chuffed with February.
“Arctic Rally Finland brought exceptional and international visibility to Rovaniemi,” she said. “The visibility of the event in international media was billions of impressions and the media values reached almost 50 million euros.
“The magnificent winter landscapes welcomed this high-speed event and the best world rally drivers in the Arctic Circle and offered an incredible visibility to Rovaniemi. Taking place during the pandemic in a safe and wonderful way showed an example of event which has deep roots in the Rovaniemi rally tradition and the wonderful spirit of doing it.”
Clearly, Kärkkäinen can think of 50 million reasons she’d like to see Kalle Rovanperä and his pals back in town next season.
And if Kärkkäinen and Kalle want to come back, they’ll be needing the help of Heikki Poranen, the chairman of the organizing committee of the national-level Arctic Lapland Rally.
“After such a successful event, we hope that we will be able to welcome again another world class event,” said Poranen.
“I am sincerely grateful that we had the opportunity to take part in this first winter World Rally Championship event in history in Finland. The rally organisers in Rovaniemi proved their tough skills this winter by successfully organising two great events within a month and we are happy that we were able to bring a boost to the Rovaniemi business community in these challenging times by keeping everyone safe.”