The 2020 WRC calendar was released this Friday by the International Automotive Federation (FIA). The 49th edition of the WRC is keeping its current 14 scales but it comes loaded with other important changes.
Amongst the returning host countries for next year are in Kenia (Safari Rally), Japan and New Zeland which are replacing Spain (Catalunya – RACC Rally), Australia and France (Tour de Corsica) for a competition that is pursuing a more global profile with a greater reach.
Notably, this is the first edition in which the 2020 WRC calendar will be visiting all of the six continents, that is, North and South America, Europe, Oceania, Asia and Africa. It is precisely in Africa where the return of the WRC has been most eagerly awaited for the competition has been absent from the continent for 17 years.
Despite all of the changes, the first leg of the 2020 World Rally Championship will remain unchanged. As tradition dictates, the season will kick-off with the Monte Carlo Rally at the end of January, followed by the Rally of Sweden.
After the two initial races it will be the turn of the American leg with the celebration of the Rally Mexico, the Rally Chile; which changes its date from that of 2019, and finally, the Rally Argentina.
Subsequently, the championship will return to the Old Continent to celebrate the Rally Portugal first followed by the Rally of Italy-Sardinia, which coincides with the season’s halfway point.
After Europe, the competition will head to Africa for its most eagerly awaited stage. After 17 years, the World Rally Championship returns to Kenya, and to Africa, for the first time since 2002 for the Rally Safari in July.
After the African leg, the WRC will head back to Europe for the Rally Finland, before making the long journey down the Antipodes, where the New Zeland Rally is due to take place at the beginning of September, another of the events returning to the calendar in 2020.
The New Zeland event will also be one of the highlights and most exciting moments of the year with the spectacular stages around Auckland. The Kiwi appointment with its long tradition and its spectacular landscapes constitutes another valuable addition for next season.
Before going back for the German and British rallies, Turkey will mark the last of the nine-strong dirt road rallies of the calendar at the end of September.
The final curtain of the Championship will finally be lowered in November at the Rally of Japan, which replaces the Australian event. Depending on whether Ireland takes over or not from Great Britain, the Japanese race will become the second or third one on tarmac.
Regardless of the changes for 2020, there is every chance that those locations which have been left out for next year become part of the rotation program planned for 2021 and 2022.
If that is the case, the Spain-Catalonia Rally could return to the competition. Contest organizers have, in fact already declared that two of the three races which have been replaced this year could be incorporated in 2021.
- Montecarlo Rally: January 23 – 26th 2020
- Rally Sweden: February 13 – 16th 2020
- Rally México: March 12 – 15th 2020
- Rally Chile: April 16 – 19th 2020
- Rally Argentina: April 30 – May 3rd 2020
- Rally Portugal: May 21 – 24th 2020
- Rally Italy-Sardinia: June 4 – 7th 2020
- Rally Safari: July 16 – 19th 2020
- Rally Finland: August 6 – 9th 2020
- Rally New Zeland: September 3 – 6th 2020
- Rally Turkey: September 24 – 27th 2020
- Rally Germany: October 15 – 18th 2020
- Rally Great Britain: October 29 – November 1st 2020
- Rally Japan: November 19 – 22nd 2020
Images of ‘2020 WRC calendar’: Hyunday Motorsport & WRC.com