Hills, gravel dust and curves: Rally competitions on the roads of Southern Estonia | Maanteemuuseum

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Hills, gravel dust and curves: Rally competitions on the roads of Southern Estonia

The roads of Southern Estonia have been providing thrilling experiences for both drivers and spectators with rally competitions for decades. When we look in terms of geography, rally competitions have started in various locations throughout South Estonia, including all the prominent places in the region: Võru, Põlva, Valga and Tartu.

Though rallying had its origins in those locations earlier, Võru hosted one-sixth of the planet's championships for the first time in 1976, when the USSR championships in the A2/1 classes were held there for the first time. This must have been a big event for the small town, and the people showed a great interest in the rally.

In 1978, Põlva was added to the prestigious list, when the A2 championship for special cars’ III stage saw its start in the town. 1980 was the year of the Olympics, but in the same year, Valga held the USSR rally championships for both the special cars class A2 and for the standard classes A2/1. An event such as this, where all classes get their start in the same rally, has never happened again. Therefore, this was a unique rally.

The roads of Southern Estonia saw foreign rally cars for the first time in 1988, when a stage in the Soyuz 88 Cup Series of socialist countries was held there.

More important competitions have found their way to the hilly rally tracks through E.O.S rallies and Rally Estonia. The first of these was held from 2001-2003 and in 2005. E.O.S. Rally was the first to bring company teams to Estonian competitions. Throughout the years, Rally Estonia has hosted both European rally championships and, starting from 2020, the World Rally Championship (WRC). The cherished tradition continues in 2023 as Rally Estonia, for the fourth time, hosts a stage of the WRC.

The history of rallying in Estonia is vibrant and has a world-class status Just some years ago we had no clear overview of what events had been organised in Estonia. Now, thanks to the initiative of six men, the whole history of rallying competitions in Estonia has been restored. The materials in this exhibition have also been compiled based on information gathered by these six men and produced in collaboration with the Estonian Road Museum.

Authors of texts: Alar Hermanson, Madis Kers, Karli Pikk, Indrek Rand, Urmas Roosimaa, Olaf Suuder

Curator: Tanel Asmer

Graphic design: Ruut Disain OÜ

Thanks to: Timo Anis, Arvi Hain, Mati Hiis, Indrek Ilomets, Heikki Järlik, Luisa Tõlkebüroo OÜ, MOMU Motorsport Museum, Johan Palu’s family, Ervin Runnel, Andri Schmidt, Seri Disain OÜ, Kristjan Sooper.

Financial support: Cultural Endowment of Estonia