The history of rally in Saaremaa

Winners through history

1. 1974 rahvaralli Toonart Rääsk-Urmas Silm Tartu Autom
2. 1975 rahvaralli Hillar Salumäe-Tiit Vähi Valga ATB-9
3. 1975 sportralli Valter Hännikainen-Meinhart Paas S/K "Tempo"
4. 1976 rahvaralli Urmas Silm-Raivu Ivask Tartu Autom
5. 1976 sportralli Toonart Rääsk-Raivo Sareal TRÜ
6. 1977 veoautod Vello Salong-Mati Kriis Saaremaa ALMAVÜ
7. 1977 s/a Vello Õunpuu-Ivo Vaher ATB-11
8. 1978 s/a Endel Kabral-Arvo Rebane TSK Sõprus
9. 1978 v/a Viktor Ivanov-Jaan Metsalu Rapla ATB-19
10.1979 s/a Endel Kabral-Arvo Rebane Viljandi TSK
11.1979 v/a Jaan Metsalu-Aare Klasing Rapla ATB-19
12.1980 s/a Vello Õunpuu-Aarne Timusk Mõigu KEK
13.1980 v/a Hellar Truuts-Urmas Laanmets ETKVL Auto
14.1981 s/a Vello Õunpuu-Aarne Timusk Mõigu KEK
15.1982 s/a Enn Jõemägi-Tiit Sepp Rakvere EPT
16.1983 Aavo Pikkuus-Lehar Linno SM
17.1984 Ilmar Raissar-Rein Talmar Harju KEK
18.1985 Enn Jõemägi-Tiit Sepp Rakvere EPT
19.1986 Rain Aava-Erbert Kalaus
20.1987 Joel Tammeka-Ants Kulgevee
21.1988 Joel Tammeka-Ants Kulgevee
22.1989 Raul Viik-Toomas Valter
23.1990 Ilmar Raissar-Rein Talvar
24.1991 Ivar Raidam-Margus Karjane
25.1992 Ivar Raidam-Margus Karjane
26.1993 Eija Jurvanen-Tomi Tuominen
27.1994 Ivar Raidam-Margus Karjane
28.1995 Sebastian Lindholm-Pertti Lahtinen
29.1996 Sebastian Lindholm-Pertti Lahtinen
30.1997 Markko Märtin-Toomas Kitsing
31.1998 Ivar Raidam-Robert Lepikson
32.1999 Ivar Raidam-Robert Lepikson
33.2000 Aleksander Käo-Aare Ojamäe
34.2001 Margus Murakas - Toomas Kitsing
35.2002 Margus Murakas - Toomas Kitsing
36.2003 T. Schie - R. Engen
37.2004 T. Schie - R. Engen
38.2005 Juho Hänninen - Marko Sallinen
39.2006 Andreas Mikkelsen - Ola Floene
40.2007 Rainer Aus - Kristo Kraag
41.2008 Ott Tänak - Raigo Mõlder
42.2009 Georg Gross - Kristo Kraag
43.2010 Mads Östberg ja Jonas Andresson
44.2011 Ott Tänak - Kuldar Sikk
45.2012 Alexey Lukyanuk - Alexey Arnautov
46.2013 Georg Gross - Raigo Mõlder
47.2014 Timmu Kõrge - Erki Pints
48.2015 Egon Kaur – Annika Arnek
49.2016 Siim Plangi - Marek Sarapuu

The first rally in Saaremaa took place in 1974 and was called 'TEHUMARDI-74'. The idea was proposed by Aleksander Tiidus and Slavik Bõstrov, two motorsport enthusiasts from the Transport Base nr. 11, a transport company of the time.

The rally took place as an amateur competition on 23rd-24th of November 1974. The track length was 354 km and out of the 50 cars that started 48 crossed the finish line. There were also other competitive events like stunt driving, slalom, wheelchanging and even granade throwing. The head referee was Juhan Filatov and the head of organizatory comitee was Marti Truu.

The first professional competition took place on 12th-24th of December 1975. Track length was 907.5 km of which 101.1 km were time trials for cars and 48.1 km for trucks. Starting lineup was 30 cars and 48 trucks. 14 cars and 18 trucks crossed the finish line. The winners were Valter Hännikainen-Meinhart Paas on their 'Volga' and Arno Maidla-Raivo Kolk in truck category.

Saaremaa's own team Vello Õunpuu-Ivo Vaher were second.

The Latvians were the first of the former soviet republics to join the action in 1976. Russian federation was added to the list in 1981. The furthest visitors have came from Tseljabinsk and Vladivastok (1989).

In the mid-80's the drivers from the auto production companies of AZLK and VAZ tried their luck here but with little success.
A lot of drivers came from Vologda.

From 1993 the rally has been international and is being called 'Saaremaa'. Since then there have also been Finnish drivers among the competitors - Sebastian Lindholm-Pertti Lahtinen and the world champion of women Eija Jurvanen. The first ones took the gold in 1995 and '96 and the other in 1993.

In 1996-97 Swedish drivers were in the competition on their 'Volvos'. We have had Latvian, Lithuanian and Russian drivers taking part. Drivers from Denmark and Poland have also shown great interest towards the rally but up to date they haven't been in the starting lineup.

In the early years there were two rallys per year - one amateur or truck rally and the other one proffesional car rally. There were altogether 3 amateur competitions and 4 competitons for trucks only.

No rally has taken place without the Kaugatuma-Toomalõuka time trial, which is a true trademark of the rallys in Saaremaa. In the last few years the time trials in the town (first took place in 1980) are once again gaining respect. In the old times the time trial in Upa was a very popular event.

Up to 1995 the main pressure of organizing was on The Transport Base of Saaremaa' ('Transport Base nr. 11'). But in the years 1996 to 1998 the rally was organized by LC Sõrve and in 1999-2000 by Kogula AMK.

The Rally has been a success troughout all these years mainly thaks to the heads of the oraganizatory comitee - Martin Truu (1974-1980), Laine Tarvis (1981-1984) and Jüri Põld (1985-1987). Much credit goes to the head referees Juhan Filatov and especially Slavik Bõstrov (1979-1995) who was the soul of the rally up to the year 1995. His work was successfully carried on by Üllar Seeman.
During the years the organizers had a lot of help from Juhan Filatov, Urve Nõmmiste, Helvi Merirand, Valdi Odar, Meelis Arumeel, Juhan Mänd, Margus Mesipuu and many other rally enthusiasts from the mainland.

Saaremaa Rally 2017