Just two final stages covering approx 45km were all that remained on the final leg of the Arctic Rally Finland (Round 2 of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championships), and Estonian Ott Tanäk was on course to be written into the World Rally history books.
With an overnight temperature drop and some fresh snow, the conditions on the 28km Aittajärvi stage were ideal for this final high-speed blast on the snow and ice.
For the second round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championships, we have ventured far North into the Arctic Circle for the first time in its 49 year history. The Rovaniemi based Arctic Rally event in the North of Finland has come to rescue in place of the fallen Swedish rally and has created much excitement amongst World Rally fans, despite being a non-spectator event, like Round 1 the Monte Carlo was.
Following their pre-rally event test where the Hyundai pair of Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville recently both competed on the Estonian Otepää Winter Rally and won the event with a team 1-2. Tänak and Neuville continued to get to grips with the wintery snow and icy conditions as they set the top two fastest times on the mornings shakedown for the 2nd round of the FIA World Rally Championships, on the outskirts of Rovaniemi, Northern Finland.
The 56th Arctic Lapland Rally became even more of an interest outside of the Finnish national rallying community this year, simply because of the speculation (which later become true in the run-up to the event) surrounding the possibility of an Arctic Rally replacing the cancelled Rallye Sweden in the FIA World Rally Championships calendar.