Mexico, Chile and new European rallies join the 2023 WRC calendar

As previously reported, the WRC is keen to re-establish a more global calendar similar to its schedule before the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a long delay, the FIA ​​has now ratified a reshuffle schedule to 2023 with the expected round in the Middle East, thought to be Saudi Arabia, off the calendar.

The season will feature four tarmac and eight gravel rallies, along with the traditional snow event in Sweden. The events are more evenly spread unlike this year where there was a seven week gap between the rallies in Sweden and Croatia.

The new-look calendar sees the return of the WRC to Central and South America with Mexican gravel reinstalled after the calendar was dropped following the shortened 2020 edition, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mexico will host the third round of the championship in March following the traditional Monte Carlo and Sweden winter curtain raisers.

The tarmac round in Croatia is followed by gravel rallies in Portugal, Sardinia, Kenya, Estonia, Finland and Greece, all of which have retained places on the calendar.

Chile will also rejoin the calendar for just its second WRC event following its debut in 2019. The gravel rally was due to feature in 2020 but was canceled due to political and social unrest in the country. The South American round of the championship will be on schedule in September/October following the Acropolis Rally Greece.

The WRC’s new Central European tarmac event will be based out of south east Germany and will take in Austria and the Czech Republic. It will effectively replace the popular Rally Spain, which has dropped from the schedule, having been a mainstay since 1991.

Sébastien Loeb, Daniel Elena, Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

Its inclusion also means that the Ypres Rally Belgium, which has filled the tarmac slot for the past two seasons, has fallen off the calendar.

Belgium was drafted in to occupy an August slot held for Rally Northern Ireland which failed to secure the necessary funding to bring the WRC back to the United Kingdom in 2023, which has been absent since 2019.

Rally New Zealand will also not return next year following its long-awaited return this season after 10 years.

Although the event has proved a hit with drivers and fans, it is understood that the rally will require a significant increase in government funding to ensure it can happen every year. The rally is expected to return in 2024.

The championship will once again take to the asphalt in Japan in November following the country’s return to the schedule for the first time in 12 years this season. While the event is under investigation following a serious safety breach, it has proved popular with teams and the local crowd.

The championship is expected to return to the Middle East with a round in Saudi Arabia, but it is understood that plans to host an event in the region have been pushed back to 2024. The WRC last held a desert-based rally in 2011 , courtesy of Rally Jordan.

World Rally Championship 2023 Calendar

Monte-Carlo – January 19-22
Sweden – February 9-12
Mexico – March 16-19
Croatia – April 20-23
Portugal – 11-14 May
Italy – June 1-4
Kenya – June 22-25
Estonia – July 20-23
Finland – August 3-6
Greece – September 7-10
Chile – September 28 – October 1
Rally in Central Europe – October 26-29
Japanese – November 16-19

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