Thu 21 Jul 2022

Star drivers praise return of fans

World Rally Championship stars have praised last week’s Rally Estonia – the first time the Tartu-based event has been able to deploy its full spectator plan.

Round seven of this year’s WRC included its renowned city centre ceremonial start for the first time since COVID restrictions were reduced, having run with the start and finish ramp in the service park for the last two years.

The fans came out in their thousands and the drivers responded.

Local hero Ott Tänak said: “It’s nice, it’s nice to see the fans back again. This is how it used to be on this rally and now it’s a little bit more normal again.”

The 2019 world champion laughed off the label of ‘rock star’ but the fans made it clear who they were cheering for.

Tänak’s hopes of a second win in three years were dashed by a stellar drive from Kalle Rovanperä, the Finn who’s made Tallinn his home.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing star added: “There have been a lot of fans out there and they really help to make this a special rally. It’s been good to see them and, of course, the roads are really nice. The work from last year is good.”

Rovanperä’s team-mate Esapekka Lappi echoed those thoughts, adding: “It’s one of the coolest events, definitely. You see a lot of people on the stages as well, they are cheering for everyone and loud. And that’s cool. Also, this ceremonial start and finish is some sort of experience…”

Asahi KASEI Turning Point: Rally Estonia 2022
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