The World Rally Championship has replaced the cancelled Rally Sweden with Arctic Rally Finland on its 2021 calendar.
Based out of the city of Rovaniemi, and taking place from February 26-28 in temperatures that can dip to -30 degrees Celsius, Arctic Rally Finland will be the calendar’s sole snow meeting after Rally Sweden was called off due to COVID-19.
Confirmation of the rally’s inclusion to the WRC calendar means the series will visit Finland twice this season, with the other coming at Rally Finland between July 29 and August 1.
“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,” explained WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel.
“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.
“Winter rallies provide some of the sport’s most spectacular action. A winter wonderland of full snow, and big snow banks lining the roads, are a driver’s dream.”
A traditional shakedown stage will take place on the Friday morning of the event followed by the opening special stages later that evening.
This will be followed by two loops of three stages on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s tests, which includes the bonus points Power Stage. In all, crews will tackle 260km.
FIA Rally Director Yves Matton confirmed that it will run under strict COVID-19 procedures, although a decision on whether fans will be allowed to spectate has yet to be taken.
“With Arctic Rally Finland joining the WRC calendar, we’ll experience a rally in a region that has always made us dream and where conditions promise to be optimal for a snow event,” he said.
“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,” added the Belgian.
“We will give all our help and support to ensure a great success for this new round.”
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