The paused 2020 World Rally Championship finally has a date for when its season will resume, and it will take place at a brand new venue.
Rally Estonia will join the schedule for the first time ever, having previously been run as a promotional event in 2019.
Estonia will become the 33rd nation to stage a championship round, with its debut set for early-September.
A revised calendar was confirmed by WRC organisers on Thursday, confirming a further five rallies will be run this season in addition to the three held prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rally Italia Sardegna, which had originally been scheduled for June, will now take place on October 29 and will be the penultimate round, preceded by Germany and Turkey, whilst the season will finish in Japan in late-November.
The championship will comprise at least eight events with advanced talks being held with with the Ypres Rally, with the aim of presenting Belgium as another available host country shortly.
Talks with the Croatian Automobile and Karting Federation will also move forward.
Thursday morning saw Estonian prime minister Jüri Ratas and WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla confirm the addition of Estonia, which will be welcome news for countryman Ott Tanak.
“Today’s restart announcement sends a clear signal that the 2020 WRC is back in business,” commented Ciesla.
“WRC Promoter has worked tirelessly with the FIA, our competitors, teams and potential rallies, in exceptional circumstances, to revise the calendar. Today’s news allows the WRC to restart at an appropriate time and ensure a season worthy of world championship status.
“Fans demonstrate huge passion for WRC in both Estonia and Italy. The expectation there, and across the sport in general, will build rapidly from now ahead of September’s championship restart.”
The Estonian event will comprise a shorter format with two legs on Saturday and Sunday after a shakedown and opening ceremony on Friday.
It will be based in Tartu, in the east of the country, with the service park at the Estonian National Museum. Full details will be announced shortly.
FIA rally director Yves Matton added: “I am pleased to announce the 2020 WRC restart calendar following a few months of discussions that have required a great deal of flexibility from all stakeholders in unprecedented times.
“In light of this revised schedule, I am confident we will secure a minimum of eight events this year and this is thanks to the great commitment and work from organisers.
“As one of the newly proposed rounds, Rally Estonia will be reopening the season in September and I know the Estonian Autosport Union and organising team are putting all their efforts to deliver an event to world championship standards from an already solid foundation.
“Also, extensive work was made with ACI and organisers of Rally Italia Sardegna to reschedule the event and I am happy that they could find a workable slot at the end of October for this much-awaited encounter.
“Preparations for these rounds are now in full swing while paying the greatest attention to key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the current Covid-19 context.
“We are naturally truly disappointed we couldn’t find a logistically viable solution to reschedule Rally Argentina, particularly given all the hard work undertaken by Automóvil Club Argentino and every member of the organisation.”
All remaining events are eligible for competitors in the WRC 2 and WRC 3 support categories. Future dates for the FIA Junior WRC Championship will be announced separately.