Finland is organizing the winter round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) for the first time this year. The WRC event will be held in Rovaniemi, Lapland, on February 26-28.
The need to find an alternative location arose in December when the Swedish rally announced that it was unable to host a scheduled event due to the country’s coronavirus situation.
Finland now plans to host two World Rally Championship events this year, and the annual summer rally in the Central Finnish city of Jyväskylä is already on the calendar.
"We set out to investigate and explore our possibilities," said Riku Bitter, CEO of AKK Sports, the organizer of the rally. "Rovaniemi stood out from the various options, with a strong culture of organizing winter races, a good reputation as an international city of events and a large number of enthusiastic and experienced rally drivers."
In a press release, Bitter said he was also impressed with how quickly the city of Rovaniemi adopted the idea.
"The city will support the organization in every way possible by building a high quality framework for this unique sporting event," Chairman of the Rovaniemi City Council Liisa Ansala said.
Sweden has reported almost half a million cases of coronavirus. Finland, with a population of about half the size, has established a population of less than 40,000.