Fri 22 Jul 2022

The Inside Line: Rally Estonia

Rally Estonia marked the first high-speed gravel rally for the WRC’s hybrid-powered Rally1 cars - and what a spectacle it was. Join us as we reflect on the hottest topics.

Star drive 
Kalle Rovanperä. Could it really be anyone else?

At this point, the Finn is running away with the championship. He’s won five out of seven rounds so far and now tops the standings by a massive 83 points. 

Estonia was even more special for the 21-year-old. It’s where he claimed his maiden win in 2021 and if he carries on the same form, he’s on course to become the youngest-ever WRC champion. 

Can he make it six on home soil at Secto Rally Finland next month (4 - 7 August)? Only time will tell…

Most memorable stage 
Kambja 2 - the Wolf Power Stage. The heavens opened and the road turned into a mud bath, with many drivers describing the stage as the most difficult in their careers. 

Of course, extreme conditions open the doors to big risks - and risks mean rewards. Rovanperä was already 38.4sec clear before the finale, but he went the extra mile and took the stage win by a crazy 22.5sec.

Grip levels were so changeable that WRC2 winner Andreas Mikkelsen - driving a Rally2-specification Škoda Fabia - was third-fastest. 

Biggest surprise
Roope Korhonen’s pace on his FIA World Rally Championship debut. The 23-year-old was driving a Ford Fiesta Rally3 in the WRC3 category. 

While an overall result was never on the cards after power steering issues early on Friday, Korhonen won all but one of Saturday’s superfast speed tests. Had he been registered, the Finn would also have beaten the FIA Junior WRC regulars on some stages.

Photo of the rally
Rallying is huge in Estonia, as you can see from this picture. Thousands of passionate fans gathered in Tartu’s Town Hall Square to witness home hero Ott Tänak go over the start podium.

You’ll never believe it 
Robert Virves broke the FIA Junior WRC record for the most stage wins in a single rally. 

He took 17 fastest times, bettering the previous benchmark of 16 which was set by none other than Sébastien Ogier in 2008.

The Estonian undeniably had the speed to win, but was hampered by damaged suspension on the opening day. He clawed back over one minute, but eventually settled for second overall behind Sami Pajari.

Number of the rally
1 - the number of stage wins Hyundai Motorsport claimed over the four-day fixture. It came from Ott Tänak on SS20. 

It was another difficult outing for the Korean manufacturer squad. Fingers crossed they come back fighting in Finland. 

Fun fact 
Rally Estonia marked the first-ever female 1-2 finish in a WRC category. Co-drivers Enni Mälkönen and Julia Thulin guided their respective drivers Pajari and Virves to the leading positions in the FIA Junior WRC.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM