Tue 25 Jul 2023

Passionate fans pack out Rally Estonia

The centre of Tartu on Thursday night was a place of mixed emotions. As ever, the place was packed with a blue, black and white army standing on its tip-toes to try to catch a glimpse of their hero, Ott Tänak.

When they did, it just made it worse. Not even their very own super-hero could make up five minutes and give them the deep sense of national pride they’d enjoyed when the then defending world champion stood on top of the podium and celebrated his 2020 home win.

As Tänak spoke, the noise just grew and grew. No doubt, some of the more partisan fans had thought about staying home given the M-Sport Ford star’s inability to win again. In the end, they all came. And more.

The service park, the stages, everywhere was packed as this immensely popular event delivered once again. And if it couldn’t be Tänak then Kalle Rovanperä was the next best. The Finn lived in Tallinn and talked expansively about his love of the Estonian roads. The cheers weren’t as loud for the Toyota man from across the water, but they weren’t far behind.

Yes, Estonians are Ott Tänak fans first, but they’re rally supporters a very close second.

The towns and liaison sections between the stages bore testament to this with junction after junction packed with flag-waving families.

Three years ago, Estonia landed onto the WRC calendar for the first time. Last weekend it looked like a rally that had been there forever. It was as well-run as it was well-attended and, in the end, it was graced with a world champion performance from Rovaperä – talk of which will be passed down through generations. It might even be held up alongside the great Ott win from 2020.

Best of Action I WRC Rally Estonia 2023
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