Round two of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship will be held in Rovaniemi, Finland, on February 26-28 and will be this year’s only all-winter race. It replaces the canceled Rally Sweden fixture.
Arctic Rally Finland will start with shakedown testing on Friday, February 26, with teams taking to the snow-covered stages later that evening. Three stages will follow on Saturday, culminating in the final Wolf Power stage on Sunday. Stretching over 260km, the 10-stage race lies just outside of the Artic Circle and will plunge drivers and competing teams into -30°C temperatures.
WRC managing director Jona Siebel commented, “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. 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 full of snow and big snowbanks lining the roads are a driver’s dream, so I think the WRC is in for a great time.”
Riku Bitter, CEO of AKK Sports, the Finnish motorsport body, noted that the existing infrastructure put in place for the upcoming national Finish Rally Championship meant it was the logical choice for a WRC event: “We set out to look into the matter and explore our possibilities. Of the various different options, Rovaniemi, with its solid culture in organizing winter rallies, good reputation as an international event city and large number of enthusiastic and experienced rally-makers stood out.”
FIA rally director Yves Matton added, “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.”
Running under strict FIA Covid-19 procedures, organizers are yet to decide whether fans will be allowed to attend. Finland will host another WRC round later this year on July 29-August 1, on the gravel roads surrounding Jyväskylä.