The organizers of Shell Helix Rally Estonia, the biggest autosport event in the Baltics, confirmed the dates of the next year’s event. Shell Helix Rally Estonia 2019 will be run on 12-14 July on the roads of Tartu, Otepää, Elva and Kanepi.
This year’s rally which was also held in July was a weekend filled with competition and entertainment. It was topped with the victory of Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT drivers Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC). Over 30 thousand fans were witnesses as they dominated the event ahead of Hyundai Motorsport drivers Hayden Paddon-Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) and Craig Breen-Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) from Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT. Besides three factory WRC cars two older generation WRC cars were present. Georg Gross-Raigo Mõlder (Ford Fiesta WRC) and Valeri Gorban-Sergei Larens (Mini Cooper WRC) had a great battle which was won by Gross-Mõlder. It is quite likely that in 2019 they will start with their latest generation Ford Fiesta WRC as they competed with it in Rally Saaremaa and showed good pace there.
Eight R5 cars were in the entry list of Shell Helix Rally Estonia and the total number of competitors was over 100.
It is worth to mention that the teams and drivers who were successful in Estonia repeated their results in Neste Rally Finland held two weeks after Shell Helix Rally Estonia. Ott Tänak-Martin Järveoja were overall winners in Finland, Eerik Pietarinen-Juhana Raitanen (Skoda Fabia R5) who won their class in Estonia were fastest in WRC 2 class. Ken Torn (Ford Fiesta R5) was fastest in Estonian R2 Challenge class and with Kuldar Sikk were they winners of JWRC category in Finland.
For Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Shell Helix Rally Estonia was the first time when Toyota Yaris WRC competed outside WRC series. All three WRC factory teams were happy and satisfied with the stages and organization of Rally Estonia and said that they wanted to come back next year if possible.
The number of unique spectators at Shell Helix Rally Estonia was over 36 000. The organizers rated the 2018 event as the biggest and best organized since 2010 when Rally Estonia was held for the first time. However, rally director Urmo Aava finds that there is still room for improvement and this is one of the goals for 2019.
“Shell Helix Rally Estonia 2018 was a big challenge for us. It was positive that after a year’s break we managed to build up an organization that worked well. We had our goals and today I can confirm that we accomplished those goals. We grew bigger in many ways comparing to the previous events. WRC factory teams, home win for Ott and Martin, perfect weather and great entertainment – all this together made our event a big autosport festival. We had some innovations this year and this added value to our rally. LHV Autolaen AutoExpo in Tartu near the podium, special spectator areas at the stages were some of them. In general, we won’t make big changes next year. We are focusing on details to be an even better event for teams, competitors and spectators. We will also continue working closely with the FIA, WRC factory teams, WRC promoter and car importers in the Baltics,” says Urmo Aava.
Shell Helix Rally Estonia 2019 will be held on 12-14 July on the roads of Tartu, Otepää, Elva and Kanepi.