Shell Helix Rally Estonia held on 12-14 of July in South-Estonia is known as an event with strong competition in every class. This year is no exception. Rally Estonia is an Official WRC Promotional event and like in WRC the second strongest category beside WRC cars is WRC 2. This year will we see in cooperation with Pirelli strong R5 drivers from Scandinavia and Baltic States. First of them is reigning Norwegian champion Kenneth Johnsrød with Dyre Erling Fredriksen driving Ford Fiesta R5 from Johnsrød Racing.
For Kenneth Johnsrød and Dyre Erling Fredriksen is this season first for them to work together. Johnsrød won Norwegian championship last year with Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 and moved up to next level this season. Currently are they holding fourth place in their class and they believe that starting at Shell Helix Rally Estonia will help them get new experiences on Estonian stages which are faster and with different surface.
“First of all we see this as a great opportunity to gain new experience against other drivers than the ones we race against in Norway. Second of all it’s a great experience for us to learn more about different surface and roads that what we have locally. In Norway the gravel surface is harder, smoother and not that high speed as we now will experience. It is a challenge, but we can’t wait to try it out,” says Johnsrød
Kenneth Johnsrød has mainly competed in Norway but he has done some starts abroad like last year in Lithuania. In fact, he has participated in Estonia too, back in 2003 was he co-driver for his dad in E.O.S. Rally where they unfortunately retired due the technical reason.
“Last year we did the Samsonas Rally in Lithuania, which was our first experience on Baltic roads. Learned a lot on that rally especially that the character of the roads are more fluid and faster than back home. Ended up second in our class. It’s going to be an interesting rally with a lot of learning every kilometer. Our expectations and hope is to be competitive, but we have never driven a R5 car on these roads before. And I am sure there will be some fast local and international drivers which will give us a huge challenge. But we are ready to give it our best, and hopefully we will show some good pace. I am sure we will have a great time with all the Estonian rally fans! I heard they are some of the best in the world! Looking forward to have a great time on these fast Estonian stages,” sends Johnsrød best wishes to Estonian fans.
Shell Helix Rally Estonia director Urmo Aava says that for the organizers it’s very important to involve besides WRC teams many different drivers and this cooperation with Pirelli is a good example.
“We have announced our first WRC drivers Esapekka Lappi and Andreas Mikkelsen in Shell Helix Rally Estonia. For us it’s always have been one of the goals to ensure competition in every class. This year are we also focusing to the drivers from Baltics and Scandinavia which is with Estonia home market for us. One thing is to add more competition to Rally Estonia entry list. Another is that it will help to improve rallying in those countries as their best drivers are participating in Official WRC Promotional event. Looking from local perspective, Estonian drivers can compere home at their pace with best drivers from Baltics and Scandinavia. As I heard Kenneth Johnsrød is taking the competition and Rally Estonia stages as a huge challenge and I’m sure we can surprise him in positive way,”says Urmo Aava.
Rally passes are now available on Shell Helix Rally Estonia official website rallyestonia.com with the price of 24 euros.
Shell Helix Rally Estonia 2019 is held on 12-14 July 2019 in Tartu, Otepää, Elva, Kanepi and Kambja. It is a round of Estonian and Latvian Championship and FIA European Rally Trophy as well as an Official WRC promotional event.