Rally Estonia will restart the 2020 World Rally Championship season when the Tartu-based event runs at the sport’s highest level for the first time in September.
Estonia’s inclusion in the series as a two-day September 5/6 event was confirmed by WRC Promoter and the FIA on Thursday.
The rally ran as a WRC Promotion event last year, and while full WRC status had been on its radar, it was a longer rather than short-term aim. Coronavirus changed all that and the cancellation of six of 13 rounds this year has forced the series organizers to source new rallies in the second half of the season.
“Today’s restart announcement sends a clear signal that the 2020 WRC is back in business,” said WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla.
Estonia forms round four of an eight-round calendar. The remaining dates issued today are: Rally of Turkey (September 24-27), Rally Germany (October 15-18), Rally Italy (October 29-November 1) and Rally Japan (November 19-22). As expected, Sardinia moves to the date Rally GB’s cancellation left open.
Ypres Rally’s inclusion is still under discussion, with the Belgian event unable to run if Turkey can’t move forward by one week. A round in Croatia is also on the table, but DirtFish understands it is a long shot.
Rally Argentina, originally scheduled for April, has been formally canceled for this year.
Ciesla continued: “WRC Promoter has worked tirelessly with the FIA, our competitors, teams and potential rallies, in exceptional circumstances, to revise the calendar. Today’s news allows the WRC to restart at an appropriate time and ensure a season worthy of world championship status.
“Fans demonstrate huge passion for WRC in both Estonia and Italy. The expectation there, and across the sport in general, will build rapidly from now ahead of September’s championship restart.”