Why Estonia’s contentious powerstage will stay

The Estonia finale got a lot of criticism. It'll be tweaked for 2022, but it's not being replaced

Thierry Neuville Hyundai WRC Estonia 2021

Rally Estonia director Urmo Aava has accepted criticism of the powerstage on the most recent round of the World Rally Championship.

But he says the Tartu stage will remain in place next season.

The teams and crews felt the stage was out of sync with the rest of the rally and were frustrated at way the surface rutted badly. WRC3 winner Alexey Lukyanuk was fortunate to make the finish after rolling his Škoda Fabia Rally 2 evo.

Aava told DirtFish: “There were a lot of difficult aspects for this stage and I know the teams and the drivers have been critical.

“From the sporting side, the second time we ran the stage, it was quite destroyed and I agree that wasn’t good enough.”

But despite that criticism, Aava said Tartu will be kept for 2022.

“We understand what WRC Promoter needs from the powerstage, but we also know what the Estonian tourist board wants from the shots it’s going to send around the world,” he said.

“What we want is a fantastic stage in the forest right on the edge of town, close to the [Estonian] National Museum – we have most of this, but we need to bring the trees and the forest to the stage!

“We will also put down extra layers down to make sure the surface [is stronger].”

Having competed regularly in the WRC himself, Aava understands the need to keep the stage as close as possible to rest of the route in its character.

“It was too slow,” said Aava. “We will make changes for next year, we are going take out some corners to make it quicker.

“We know we can make it more representative. But also we are missing the nature – we will make it beautiful.”

Hyundai Motorsport team principal Andrea Adamo was among those who felt the powerstage was a poor fit for the rest of the rally.

“This event has been nice, nice, nice, nice, nice, nice. And maybe they just didn’t want to be perfect, so they did a powerstage which was not at the level of the event,” he said.

“That was not great. It wasn’t representative and it’s something we didn’t need here.”