Rally Estonia (15 - 18 July), which hosts round three in a historic 20th anniversary year for Junior WRC, holds fond memories for Virves. He made an explosive entrance during his 2020 appearance and led for 10 stages before eventually finishing third.
After clinching victory in the Estonian Junior Rally Championship last year, the 20-year-old received a scholarship to tackle the 2021 Junior WRC season. He will make up the 100th Estonian entry in the history of the series on his home round.
“It is very important [the scholarship], without my scholarship I don’t think I could have been in the championship this year,” admitted Virves, who currently holds sixth in the standings.
“I never think about numbers if I am honest, but it’s nice to know that I will be making the 100th Estonian Junior WRC start on Rally Estonia,” he added.
Whilst Rally Estonia only joined the junior calendar in 2020, the Baltic nation has a strong history within the championship thanks to Estonia’s continuous support of young drivers.
Urmo Aava was the first young Estonian to become a star of Junior WRC in 2003, with a further ten drivers rising through the Junior ranks since. The majority of them also received support from the Estonian federation.
“Back then [in 2003], we couldn’t imagine the support that young drivers get today, and we wouldn’t dream of the WRC coming to Estonia,” explained Aava, who now forms part of the rally organising team.
“We are happy to support the Junior WRC, because Estonia is investing in the future. We are proud to be part of it, and we will see many more future rally champions entering the world stage like this,” he concluded.