Tuesday | 20 Apr 2021

Autumn date change for Rally Finland

The 70th anniversary Rally Finland has moved to early October to give fans the best possible chance to follow the high-speed action in the forests around host city Jyväskylä.

The iconic gravel road fixture will now form the 10th round of the FIA World Rally Championship on 30 September - 3 October after moving back two months from its original 29 July - 1 August slot.

Organiser AKK Sports has taken the decision in response to measures introduced in Finland to stop the spread of Covid-19 by cancelling mass gatherings until the summer. Jyväskylä’s fan-favourite Pavilonki exhibition centre will house the event service park as usual.

Clerk of the course Kai Tarkiainen said the reality of the pandemic meant organisers could not continue planning a summer rally with the lack of certainty that members of the public could attend.

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“Unlike Arctic Rally Finland, which was held to great acclaim in February, Rally Finland is very much a made-for-spectators event and we need fans to make it work,” he added.

“Although there is no certainty that we will be able to welcome fans in October, we hope the roll-out of the vaccination programme will go a long way to making this possible.

“We thank all the local authorities, the FIA and WRC Promoter for accommodating the new dates. We are sorry for any inconvenience the change causes but we are convinced it will be in the best interests of the rally, the stakeholders and all the fans.”

Simon Larkin, event director at WRC Promoter, added: “Like all international sporting fixtures around the world, the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship calendar continues to be impacted by Covid-19.

“Through Rally Finland’s switch in dates from late-July to October, we believe this will give the best opportunity for fans to join us in the forests around Jyväskylä.

“The passion and enthusiasm of the fans in Finland is legendary and that atmosphere has unfortunately been missing during the pandemic, so we will take every chance to allow them to be safely welcomed back.”

FIA rally director Yves Matton it was important to consider every option to ensure the fast rollercoaster roads would find a place on the calendar despite the pandemic issues.

It will be an interesting change to see it take place at the beginning of October, certainly with slightly different weather conditions, and hopefully with spectators,” he added.

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