The second round of the 2021 World Rally Championship season has been replaced, with the Arctic Rally Finland replacing Rally Sweden.
Rally Sweden was cancelled back in December due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and rise in the number of infections, but the championship won’t lose a snow round despite that.
Taking place from February 26-28, the Arctic Rally will be the first of two visits to Finland during the 2021 season, with Rally Finland returning to the calendar following its own cancellation last season.
The snow and ice event will be based in Rovaniemi and take place over 10 stages and 260km. Temperatures in the region can fall below -30 degrees Celsius during the month of February.
“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,” said WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel.
“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, so I think the WRC is in for a great time!”
The event will be run under strict FIA Covid-19 protocols but there is the possibility of fans attending stages depending on local government guidelines.
“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,” FIA rally director Yves Matton said.
“Following the unfortunate cancellation of Rally Sweden in December, this is proof that with challenges can come opportunities.