Rally News

Mexico, Chile and new European rally join 2023 WRC calendar

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

As previously reported, the WRC has been keen to re-establish a more global calendar akin to its schedule prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a lengthy delay the FIA has now ratified a reshuffled 2023 schedule with an anticipated round in the Middle East, thought to be Saudi Arabia, absent from the calendar.

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

The new-look calendar sees the WRC return to Central and South America with the gravel of Mexico re-installed after dropping off the calendar following 2020’s shortened 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, which have all retained spots on the calendar.

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

The WRC’s new Central European tarmac event will be based out of south east Germany and will venture into Austria and the Czech Republic. It will effectively replace the popular Rally Spain, which drops off 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 Ypres Rally Belgium, which has filled a tarmac slot for the past two seasons, has fallen off the calendar.

Belgium was drafted in to take over an August slot that had been held for Rally Northern Ireland which has failed to secure the required funding to bring the WRC back to the United Kingdom in 2023, having been absent since 2019.

Rally New Zealand also won’t return next year following its long awaited comeback this season after 10 years away.

While the event has proven a hit with drivers and the fans, it is understood that the rally will need significant uplift in government funding to ensure it can happen on an annual basis. It is hoped the rally could return…

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