Takale in Estonia to get ready for WRC Finland
Pune Rally driver Sanjay Takale will be aiming to get more time behind the wheels of R2-spec Ford
PUNE: Hiatus of three months is a long break for rally drivers and to address it specifically Pune rally driver Sanjay Takale has landed in the Estonian capital Tallinn to get himself ready for his second appearance in the World Rally Championship round, the Rally Finland in Jyvaskyla.
The three-day Shell Helix Rally Estonia in Tallinn will see Takale drive for the Baltic Motorsports Promotion team in R2-spec Ford Fiesta that will mark his second innings of WRC in which he debuted last year with the same team.
“I have been away from competitive rally driving for about three months now after I drove in one round of the Rally Thailand Championship so taking part in a rally in Baltic region makes logical sense to get good results from Rally Finland scheduled in the first week of August,” Takale said of his participation in Rally Estonia.
WRC CANDIDATE CITY
One of the major plus point of participation in Rally Estonia is that each of the championship’s four registered manufacturers are invited to enter a car as part of their preparations for Rally Finland (August 1-4), a short distance across the Baltic Sea.
Rally Estonia being a Candidate City for WRC makes an ideal destination for the rally drivers heading to WRC’s rounds with gravel courses.
“The terrain in Estonia is very similar, fast and mostly gravel and given that this city is Candidate for WRC round it will be an ideal practice for me to drive in Tallinn,” said Takale, who will have Latvian Edgars Svencis as co-driver.
Svencis drives mostly in the Baltic region for WRC Subaru in the local championship and has good knowledge of the terrain.
“More importantly, this tiny Baltic country has car rally as their national sport, which gives me goose bumps,” said Takale of the huge fan support for car rallies in that part of the region.
Also on view will be some of the WRC stars and their spectacular new-generation World Rally Cars in the three-day rally in southern Estonia.
Last year the combined audience for Sunday’s rally-ending Power Stages were well in excess of 100,000 in a country of 1.3 million people, reaching about 80 per cent of the sports viewership.
“Motorsports is huge there. No wonder it is their National Sport,” said Takale adding that such support has raised the prospect of Estonia getting on the WRC map.
Takale is positive about Svencis as he has driven with him for two years now in the Baltic region.
“We met for the first time in Riga last year,” said Takale of Svencis, who is third generation rally driver given that his father and grandfather also drove rallies for long years.
Svencis has been co-driving many cars, starting from historic Jaguars and Volgas and Subarus in WRC.
The 15-stage rally is cramped in two days with the first eight stages on Saturday and 7 on Sunday.
“I will then stay on in Tallin to do a proper rally course to get used to the car and log more hours in the cockpit,” informed Takale.
Overall SS distance and total distance
NUMBER OF LEGS: 2
Leg 1: Asphalt 1.66-km (Elva City Stage); Gravel: 90.12-km.
Leg 2: Asphalt 1.50 km (Tartu City Stage); Gravel: 58.70-km.
NUMBER OF SECTIONS: 8
Special Stages: 15
Total distance: 795.15 km
Overall length: 151.98 km