Arctic Rally Finland added to 2021 FIA World Rally Championship calendar
Arctic Rally Finland is to join the World Rally Championship (WRC) 2021 calendar for the first time, replacing the cancelled Rally Sweden as the WRC’s only pure winter encounter.
The new snow and ice event will be held in Rovaniemi on 26-28 February and will form round two of the 12-event fixture list.
The announcement means the country will host two WRC rounds this year with Rally Finland, held in Jyväskylä, taking place 29 July-1 August.
WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel commented on the addition: “Since it was confirmed in December that Rally Sweden would not take place, we’ve been working hard with AKK Sports, the city of Rovaniemi and the enthusiasts there to try to make this event happen. It’s been a tough race against time and my thanks go to all involved.
“Although the rally starts in just 44 days, we know AKK will leave no stone unturned to ensure it reaches the same high standards as the traditional summertime Rally Finland.”
AKK Sports chief executive officer Riku Bitter added: “We set out to look into the matter and explore our possibilities. Of the various different options, Rovaniemi, with its solid culture in organising winter rallies, a good reputation as an international event city and a large number of enthusiastic and experienced rally-makers, stood out.”
FIA rally director Yves Matton concluded: “With Arctic Rally Finland joining the WRC calendar, we will experience a rally in a region that has always made us dream and where conditions promise to be optimal for a snow event. Following the unfortunate cancellation of Rally Sweden in December, this is proof that with challenges can come opportunities.
“I would like to thank AKK and the organising team for their commitment, professionalism and determination, which enables them to make a second round in Finland a reality within a short time window.”
The rally starts on Friday 26 February 2021 and will run under strict national, local and FIA COVID-19 procedures.
The revised calendar is subject to FIA approval.