Petter Enckell was born in Germany 38 years ago, but his mother is Swedish and he also lived in Scandinavia for a time, while at the same time he was brought up speaking both his native language and his mother tongue.
As a young man, he was a footballer in the minor leagues of southern Germany, playing as a left forward. In 2007 he graduated from the Technical University of Munich with a degree in Sports Sciences and shortly afterwards began to work as an independent consultant after retiring from the field.
That led him to be WRC Marketing Director for five years, since the company is based precisely in the Bavarian capital. He then looked for new horizons and, after being Press Officer for Rally Sweden in February 2019, the following month he had already accepted the offer of the organizers of Rally Estonia to join the organizational staff, in his case with the role of Director of International relations.
Invited to yesterday's + Motor Radio program, Enckell referred to various aspects, mainly his latest professional experience in Eastern Europe.
Rally Estonia debuted as a World Championship event a few days ago, to very good overall feedback. How was the experience of working on this first world edition?
When the promoters of the category and the International Automobile Federation proposed us to be responsible for the return to tournament activity after six months, the times were extremely tight. Specifically, we had only 63 days to go to the start of the race. It sounded crazy, but we agreed anyway and went to work piecemeal with our staff. We had a large part of the resources and the organizational issues in place, since the competition has been going on for ten years, but especially for two years it became an international test with the idea of becoming a candidate from 2018 to see if five years later we could be part of the calendar world. In these last editions, the official teams had welcomed the idea of joining us and participating as training for Finland, which is similar. It was like this that between World Rally Car and R5 cars there were beautiful events. In 2019, we were designated as a “Promotional Event”, which is different from being a “Candidate Event”, but it implies progress. With all this issue of the coronavirus, they saw that Estonia, being a small and modern country of 1.300.000 inhabitants, was one of the European places least affected by the pandemic and, although on the hour, the possibilities of shaping the rally increased.
What were the main aspects that you considered in the health field?
First, we calculate that a competition like this moves at least 2.000 people from different places. We asked each and everyone to send a record of the negative result of their swab from their places and then connect to a mobile application that updated this data and made it public. If they arrived at the airport in Tallinn, the capital, or if they entered by land to reach Tartu, when they did so, a second swab was carried out, this time within Estonia. In the sections, we limited the number of spectators who would be sold tickets to enter them and in the service park we divided the area into two areas that we call high and low density. High density was for drivers, sailors, team managers, mechanics, organizers, members of the FIA. Low density were cameramen, journalists, assistants, etc. Those of one group were not allowed to meet those of the other. Other very important details were that we were well connected to the national government, which advised and supported us, and that the staff was young, but at the same time with enough experience in international rallies.
Did you get good feedback from the rally?
Yes, I think everyone was very happy with the organizational level shown despite it being Estonia's first time at the World Championship. We were already happy with the results of the 2019 Promotional Event, having been broadcast by WRC All Live and the rest of its platforms, but with this we reached 70 million fans in 85 countries with the images of our rally, with the Shortening from five years to practically two months to join this calendar and with the pleasant opinions received, I suppose that we all exceeded the expectations of success we had.
In 2020 they entered the category in full emergency. Can Rally Estonia remain in the competition in the future?
For the reasons listed above, we think so. With certainty, we are one of the countries mentioned to follow. As organizers we strive for that, but the last word in that sense is the WRC and the FIA. There is a lot of uncertainty about the current situation, although on our side we remain confident because we showed that we could bring a world rally to life in record time.
Do you think that Rally Estonia and Copec Rally Chile have similarities?
The stages may be different, but in effect, we do have things in common. We are both young organizers in the world series, with a lot ahead of us. We had been amazed in 2019 by the Chilean start ceremony, the ramp with two cars going down simultaneously, the fervor of the people, the giant screen and other details that left us speechless. We both try to contribute fresh and innovative ideas because there are many countries with a tradition in this championship and that, for more, are excellent organizers. So yes, we have a lot of similarity. From now on we also compete to see who has the biggest screen on the ramp!