As the dust settled on Rally Estonia, the fourth round of this year's FIA World Rally Championship, reigning champion Ott Tanak and co-driver Martin Jarveoja received a rapturous reception after claiming their 13th WRC career victory and their first for Hyundai in front of an adoring, impassioned crowd of fellow countrymen and women.
The scenes were also joyous for rally fans around the world who had been starved of their sport for almost six months and were treated to an event worth savouring. The local heroes put on a masterful display, while Rally Estonia felt as though it had been on the calendar for years. Pieced together in just two months from a standing start, the fact that Rally Estonia happened at all is testament to the collaborative skills of its event organisers, the FIA and the local authorities. In return they got a day and a half's scintillating entertainment and a result that raised the rafters in a year of global gloom.
The WRC was due to mark its 600th points-scoring event back in April, until Rally Chile was cancelled due to political unrest and the next contender, Rally Argentina, was wiped out in the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus this towering landmark was achieved 20 weeks later than planned, on a different continent and in a country that the series had never visited before. All of these tribulations were swiftly forgotten, however, during a safe, successful and incredibly meaningful weekend as Estonia became the 33rd nation to host the WRC.