With the World Rally Car era coming to an end at the conclusion of the 2021 season, the world’s leading rally photographers were invited to submit to wrc.com, their favourite image from the 25 years that the World Rally Cars have competed in the WRC.
Once all entries had been received, an independent panel of expert judges were called upon to decide on the top ten. Fans were then invited to vote for their favourite from the ten finalists, on wrc.com.
Estonian Ree won nearly 20 percent of the vote, ahead of Jan Fronek with 17.8% and Timo Anis with 14.7%.
Ree’s photograph, which depicts Ott Tänak navigating his M-Sport Ford Fiesta through a watersplash at Rally Guanajuato Mexico in 2017, will now go on permanent display in the FIA’s Geneva headquarters. The photographer also earned himself a prize pack from ProGrade Digital.
“Being chosen from among all those awesome timeless photos was a big surprise – similar to the feeling I had seeing the photo after I took it,” Ree told wrc.com.
“That photo was essentially a year in planning,” explained Ree. “There were rocks in the watersplash which I knew the drivers would be avoiding, so I knew it was a good place for a remote camera.
“I built a special waterproof case to protect the camera from the "powerwash" created by the car. I tested it many times in the bath and improved it over many months.
“When finally the day arrived I went to the location early to set up my flashes and rest of my gear. I tested the light with different lenses from further away before asking the other photographers if I could place my tripod close to the rocks for a few pictures.
“A few tries was all I had because of the heat, which was creating moisture inside the case. The first two shots, I missed the car (because of the flashes, I was not able to use burst mode). All I had was flying water and some car detail.
“Before the third try, the moisture started to build up and I knew that it might be the last chance. I paid extra care to calculate the lag of the camera after pressing the remote button and I was so happy after seeing the photo on backend of the camera!
“I still love the location and have returned there every year since. Of course, now it's not so easy anymore because the spot has become rather popular among photographers. Some have even been inspired by my shot and do the same- that is the greatest compliment!”