Sunday | 25 Jul 2021

Virves 'expected more' from home rally

FIA Junior WRC challenger Robert Virves says he expected more from his home event at Rally Estonia last weekend.

In the run-up to the event, Virves was regarded as a favourite after his stunning debut in 2020 when he finished third. 

However, his rally was effectively over just three stages in when a broken driveshaft sidelined his M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally4. Virves and co-driver Sander Pruul were third at the time. 

“When I go to a rally, I always think about winning,” explained the youngster. “I didn’t get to have a very good programme for preparing for the rally, but I was expecting to be at least on the podium.”

“It’s not easy to stay at the side of the road, especially with problems like this. But it’s part of rallying and there’s nothing we can do about it,” he added. 

The crew restarted on Saturday morning with their sights set on all-important Wolf stage win points, but they couldn’t catch a break. A collision with a concrete bollard caused a puncture on the opening Peipsiääre test and a deflated Virves eventually finished seventh. 

Virves plans to end the season on a high

“I have told a few guys that I had more bad luck in this rally than I have had before this in my whole career,” joked the Estonian. “But what can I do? There will for sure be even worse rallies for me in the future because, you know, that’s just part of the game, and you have to keep going.” 

With two rounds to go, the 21-year-old is seventh in the standings and trails leader Sami Pajari by 54 points. Whilst admitting that a championship result may be out of the question, he vowed to end the season on a high and is targeting top results in Belgium and Spain. 

“Maybe the standings in the championship are lost already, but I want to finish the season and do both the rallies to get the experience for the future. 

“I did my first [asphalt] event at the start of the year in Italy and I like it quite a lot. For sure, there is a lot of things to learn, but it’s nice to drive.” 

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