As the first round of this year’s WRC gets underway today in Monte Carlo, the FIA World Rally Championship revealed it will venture into the Arctic Circle for the first time next month after WRC Promoter added Arctic Rally Finland to the 2021 calendar.
The all-new snow and ice event will be based in Rovaniemi on 26 – 28 February and replaces the cancelled Rally Sweden as the WRC’s only pure winter encounter. It forms round two of the 12-event fixture list.
The announcement means the Nordic country will host two WRC rounds this year. Rally Finland, held on iconic rollercoaster gravel roads around Jyväskylä, will take place on 29 July – 1 August.
Rovaniemi, the capital of Finland’s northernmost Lapland province, lies just outside the Arctic Circle. The competition will take place inside the region, where temperatures can plunge below -30°C in February.
The city is famously known as the home of Santa Claus or Joulupukki as he is called in Finland, and also attracts high tourist numbers to view the stunning Aurora Borealis display of the Northern Lights.
The Arctic Rally Finland starts on Friday 26 February with a morning shakedown, ahead of the opening special stages that evening. Saturday features three tests driven twice ahead of Sunday’s final leg, which closes with the Wolf Power Stage. There are 10 stages cover 260km.
North Wales driver Elfyn Evans just missed out last season on being the first Welsh driver to win the WRC and he returns this weekend to the French Alps in his Toyota team Yaris to begin his attack on this year’s championship after a disrupted 2020 season. Unfortunately, there will be no round in the UK this year after talks failed with potential organisers in Ireland.