Rally Estonia (4 - 6 September), which will run out of Tartu, was confirmed as a WRC round on Thursday and will restart the championship season following a pause of several months due to Covid-19.
The reigning world champion said: “There’s something special about the WRC coming to your own country.
“For a few years, we’ve had some incredible support from Estonian fans who have followed us around and, for sure, in places like Finland it’s felt like we’ve been at home driving through all the flags.
“This kind of backing is good and it can definitely help you when you’re competing. You only need to talk to Séb [Ogier] about his feeling when he is driving out of Gap in Monte, I imagine, it’s special.”
Video: Rally Estonia 2019
Estonia’s WRC debut is likely to be one of the most popular rounds of the season.
The Hyundai driver added: “I know a lot of people did a lot of work for this, including the Estonian Autosport Union, and it’ll definitely be nice to drive my i20 against the other WRC drivers on Estonian roads.”
Former world champion Ari Vatanen is president of the Estonian Autosport Union and could not hide his excitement at the announcement.
“A WRC event taking place in Estonia is excellent news which is a result of hard work done by the team of Urmo Aava and support from the Estonian Government,” he said.
“I’m convinced Estonia deserves this. Motorsport has always been big in Estonia and it has a big influence in introducing Estonia internationally. Estonia may be a small country, but we have shown our effectiveness. I’m confident we will be able to organise a world class event.”
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas emphasised the importance of the WRC for his country by attending Thursday’s announcement in Tallinn.
“This is more than a unique opportunity to organise a global sport event in Estonia. Having a FIA World Rally Championship round in Estonia introduces our country in the world and contributes to our economy and regional development. Additionally, this has a positive impact to Estonian motorsport and its development,” he said.