Shell Helix Rally Estonia 2019
Shell Helix Rally Estonia will be the host of the first ever WRC Promotional Rally. This means that rally fans will see all four WRC manufacturers teams with one WRC car in Estonia.
Technically fast gravel roads with lots of crests and jumps. Technical sections on wide and narrow forest roads. Hosted in the second largest city in Estonia, Tartu. Most of the route near Estonian winter capital Otepää, where also the Service Park is located.
The rally will start in Friday with Shakedown. The first proper stage will kick off Saturday morning. There will be a total of nine stages split by service breaks at Tehvandi after every one or two stages, thus enabling WRC teams to test different set-ups for Rally Finland. Saturday ends with a street stage in Elva, the hometown of Ott Tänak´s co-driver Martin Järveoja.
Six more stages will be run on the final day Sunday, including two repeated stages and the famous and attractive Tartu City stage just before the podium ceremony at Tartu Town Hall.
Rüa. A South-Estonian classic stage which has been part of Rally Estonia from the very first year back in 2010. The nearly 10 km long gravel stage includes everything that one proper and fast gravel stage should have – a fast and flowing road with lots of technical crests and tight corners. The highlight of the stage is Alaküla jump where cars can fly almost 40 meters. Each year this jump has been the hot spot to watch and that’s why it attracts thousands of rally fans.
The fast and technical gravel roads with numerous of jumps and crests demand very good pace notes. As WRC teams use Shell Helix Rally Estonia as a preparation for Neste Rally Finland, all the teams want to find the best set-up in Estonia to be fast also in Finland.
The success of the overall winner of Shell Helix Rally Estonia 2018 the and winners of R5 and R2 classes continued at Rally Finland where they all managed to be the best in their respective classes too.
Gravel suspension. The roads and stages are smooth. For the second pass of the stages some sections may become rutted. Cars can use from soft to hard compound tyres. As there is summer in Estonia in the middle of July, temperatures can reach up to 30 degrees.
The idea to organize a new rally was born 10 years ago when Silver Kütt, a co-driver with the experience of participating in seven WRC rallies, presented his idea to his good friend, a former WRC driver Urmo Aava. After sharing the idea with a “marketing mastermind” Tarmo Hõbe, who named the new rally “Rally Estonia”, first steps were taken.
The idea that first seemed unbelievable back in 2009, has grown year by year and now the target is hosting WRC event.
The first Rally Estonia took place in 2010 and the first ever winner of the rally was a local hero Markko Märtin who has won five World Championship rallies back in his WRC career. The first two-time champion of the event was Mads Østberg, the winner Portugal WRC rally 2012, who was fastest at Rally Estonia in the years 2011 and 2012.
The high competitive level with the help and contribution of Märtin, Østberg and Latvala family raised the bar high for the organizers to keep.
From 2014 until 2016 Rally Estonia was part of the European Rally Championship (ERC) and in 2014 it was voted as the best ERC rally of the year.
The local WRC hero Ott Tänak has won the rally twice - in 2014 and last year.
Besides local stars Rally Estonia has welcomed many top rally drivers over the world, such as WRC drivers Thierry Neuville, Esapekka Lappi, Jari-Matti Latvala, Teemu Suninen, Craig Breen, Hayden Paddon, Yazeed Al-Rajhi, Martin Prokop, Toni Gardemeister and ERC Champions Alexey Lukyanuk and Kajetan Kajetanowicz.
The rally will kick off with a ceremonial start on Friday night when cars will drive over the Emajõgi arch bridge to the Town Hall podium in Tartu in front of thousands of fans.
On the podium, the TOP10 drivers will select their start position for Saturday .
Saturday’s highlight will be Maaritsa stage, driven near a picturesque Leigo lake, and Rüa stage with the spectacular Alaküla jump. The day ends with an attractive Elva street stage.
Sunday’s highlights will be the Tartu City stage and the final podium which has been described by top WRC drivers as the best and most amazing Rally podium they have ever seen in the world.