All professional sports were hit hard by the pandemic in 2020, and while all have made a return in one form or another, there is still the fear that we could see more cancellations this year. The WRC was hit hard last season, seeing their season drastically shortened. Still, they were at least able to come back and finish, and crown a champion, hoping that 2021 would prove to be better. It’s still very early in the season, but we have already seen a change made to the schedule. Let’s take a close look at the upcoming event so you can get ready to make your bets against their WRC odds.
WRC Arctic Rally Finland replaces Sweden Rally: what to expect?
One of the bright spots of the 2020 season was being able to get a few races in before being forced to shut down. One of the races that made the cut in the early going was WRC Sweden, but it will not be a part of the schedule this time around. With COVID-19 cases spiking in Sweden, the decision was made to cancel this year’s race, as organizers did not believe it would be prudent to have drivers and teams coming in from all over the word. It was a disappointing decision to be sure, but one that was made with the safety of the drivers and the general public in mind.
Rather than leaving a blank spot on the schedule, the WRC went out and put together a new event, with Arctic Rally Finland now added to the 2021 WRC calendar. The details of the upcoming race have now been released and it is one that fans are almost certainly going to enjoy. The race will take place on February 26-28 and will be the first of two races to be held in Finland this season. This one, though, will be the only snow and ice event on the calendar, which makes it very special.
This is going to be a real test of skill for the drivers, as they will need to navigate some tricky terrain, not to mention temperatures that have the organizers dictating that vehicles should come equipped with survival kits. It is not unusual for the temperature to dip below -30C in that region and at that time of the year, hence the need for extra safety measures. It is not likely to be that cold, but there will definitely be plenty of snow to deal with.
The drivers should be familiar with at least some of the course, as they raced on it during the Arctic Lapland Rally. There will be a pair of speed tests on the opening day of the event, both if which are a touch over 31 KM in length. The Saturday stages will include a run over a frozen swamp, as well as a night stage that is sure to be particularly challenging. The final day will feature a pair of runs over a 22 KM course, with bonus points up for grabs in that one.