High-speed gravel event gearing up to host the WRC from September 30–October 3
New date maximises chances of spectator attendance
First ever Jyväskylän Suurajot took place in the autumn of 1951
The 70th anniversary Rally Finland will take place from September 30-October 3 to give fans the best possible chance to follow the high-speed action in the forests around host city Jyväskylä.
Now counting as round ten of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship season, the event had been due to run from July 29-August 1. However, in response to measures introduced in Finland to stop the spread of COVID-19 by cancelling mass gatherings until the summer, Rally Finland organiser AKK Sports has taken the decision to secure an alternative date later in the year.
With a new date confirmed, work is now underway to finalise the route of the event, which began life as the Jyväskylän Suurajot in 1951. Although details of the high-speed stages are being completed, Jyväskylä’s Pavilonki exhibition and conference centre will house the event headquarters, media centre and service park.
Kai Tarkiainen, Clerk of the Course, Rally Finland, said: “While we would like nothing more than for Rally Finland to take place in the summer, the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic means we could not go ahead with arranging the event with the lack of certainty that members of the public could attend. Unlike Arctic Rally Finland, which was held to great acclaim in February, Rally Finland is very much a made-for-spectators event and we need fans to make it work. Although there is no certainty that we will be able to welcome fans in October, we hope the rollout of the vaccination programme will go a long way to making this possible. We thank all the local authorities, the FIA and WRC Promoter for accommodating the new dates. We are sorry for any inconvenience the change causes but we are convinced it will be in the best interests of the rally, the stakeholders and all the fans.”
Yves Matton, FIA Rally Director, said: “A founding round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Finland is a historical and unmissable event on the WRC roster, with its spectacular forest scenery and super-fast roller coaster gravel roads. It was important for us to be flexible and consider every option to ensure it would find its place on the calendar this year despite ongoing issues brought about by the pandemic. It will be an interesting change to see it take place at the beginning of October, certainly with slightly different weather conditions, and hopefully with spectators.”
Simon Larkin, Events Director, WRC Promoter, said: “Like all international sporting fixtures around the world, the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship calendar continues to be impacted by Covid-19. Through Rally Finland’s switch in dates from late-July to September, we believe this will give the best opportunity for fans to join us in the forests around Jyväskylä. The passion and enthusiasm of the fans in Finland is legendary and that atmosphere has unfortunately been missing during the pandemic, so we will take every chance to allow them to be safely welcomed back.”