Rally Sweden moves north to Umeå

After a thorough investigation, all parties involved agree that Rally Sweden 2022 will be carried out with Umeå as the new host city.

The investigation into Rally Sweden’s future location started in March 2020, where Östersund, Umeå and Luleå were selected as possible new alternatives. Facts have been developed about each regions hospitality, sporting and commercial conditions to ensure that the right decision is made. As the only winter event in the World Rally Championship, winter is extremely central in Rally Sweden’s requirements specification.

“A more snowsafe region further north is a basic requirement and being able to provide historical weather data was central to the decision,” said Olsson.

“Umeå’s strengths, in addition to a stable winter climate, include good hotel capacity in combination with service park location and HQ at the Nolia trade fair area, a vibrant business community and the potential to attract plenty of fans.”

“Östersund and Luleå also presented strong bids and above all a great commitment, but on the whole Umeå is a more attractive concept for Rally Sweden.”

Since the start of the WRC in 1973, Rally Sweden has been based in Värmland and Olsson says it is a ‘great sadness’ to announce that Rally Sweden leaves the region. 

“Sweden is one of very few countries that has been involved since 1973 when the World Rally Championship started and Värmland’s great commitment and knowledge has been crucial in this. All officials and other enthusiasts who have put in a lot of effort and commitment over the years should feel proud that we have managed to keep Sweden’s place in the World Championship. Despite all the challenges over the years, the FIA and WRC Promoter see the potential in Rally Sweden with Umeå as a new host city.”

An extended agreement with WRC Promoter after 2022 is not yet in place as some details remain to be agreed, but both parties are confident it will be signed shortly.

“Winter events are one of the WRC’s biggest challenges and Sweden has been a cornerstone winter event since the beginning of the championship,” said WRC Promoter’s events director Simon Larkin.

“We have great hopes for the future commercial and sporting development of this new chapter for Rally Sweden in Umeå, and have nothing but praise for the hard work put in to make this happen. Värmland has been such an amazing host for so many years and we say ‘thanks’ to so many people and supporters.”

FIA rally director Yves Matton said: “Moving up north was a must, given the challenges we experienced in the last few years. I’d like to praise the efforts of the Rally Sweden organisers for coming up with alternatives and securing this promising new base in Umeå for next year’s event. It is the chance to ensure the proper winter conditions we all dream about for a snow rally.”

The future for the World Rally Championship looks bright with a steadily growing media interest where Rally Sweden 2020 had as many as 122 million TV viewers globally. Also in Sweden, interest is at its peak, where this year’s broadcasts on SVT from the World Rally Championship attracted the most 39% of all Sweden’s TV viewers. More sustainable hybrid technology will be introduced in rally cars from 2022 together with a greater demand for sustainable fuels, something that goes hand in hand with Rally Sweden’s own sustainability vision Rally Towards Zero.

“It feels good that we have finished with a new host city for Rally Sweden and that Sweden is strengthening its position as the only winter rally in the WRC calendar. For us at the Swedish Automobile Sports Federation, it has always been about ensuring that we maintain our Swedish WRC event and the knowledge and history from all the fantastic years in the forests of Värmland, we get to take with us to create new unforgettable moments. Rally Sweden is one of Sweden’s strongest sports brands and I see that we keep it as a success for the large motorsport interested audience we have in Sweden,” says Swedish Automobile Sports Federation’s general secretary Anna Nordkvist.