Friday | 12 Feb 2021

WRC stars set for final Finland warm-up in Estonia

Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville will complete a final dress rehearsal for the FIA World Rally Championship’s only pure winter round at Saturday’s Otepää Talveralli in Estonia.

The Hyundai Motorsport pair completed a day’s running each in Lapland last week, fine-tuning the set-up of their i20 WRC ahead of Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox (26 - 28 February). On Saturday they get an additional day’s driving at the Estonian Championship event.

The one-day competition, based close to the special stages used on last year’s inaugural WRC-counting Rally Estonia, features four stages run twice – two in the morning and two in the afternoon. They add up to 84km of competition.

Conditions in south Estonia are near perfect with temperatures expected to be around -10°C, with plenty of snow lying on the forest roads.

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Tänak is looking forward to competing close to where he scored his first Hyundai win last September.

“The conditions are nice here in Estonia,” he said. “This is a good chance for us to get ourselves into a rhythm for Arctic Rally Finland and to confirm the feeling we found with the car after the test in Lapland.

“We only have one snow event in each WRC season and that makes it very special.”

Team-mate Neuville will also be grateful for more competitive seat time with new co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe. The pair (pictured above) made their debut together, taking third place, at last month’s season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo.

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There is also an entry from Movisport WRC2 driver Nikolay Gryazin, but his fellow Volkswagen Polo R5 team-mate Esapekka Lappi won’t be competing in Estonia.

Finn Lappi, who confirmed a WRC2 Arctic entry earlier in the week, said: “It would have been nice to drive this rally, but the deal came quite late, so the team is busy getting the car ready for Finland. It wouldn’t be ready in time for Estonia.”

Fellow WRC2 driver Georg Linnamäe will also warm-up for the Arctic in Otepää. The Estonian also drives a Polo. WRC3 contenders Adrian Chietczuk, Vladas Jurkevičius and Lars Stugemo will all drive Škoda Fabias.