Mexico, Chile and new European rally join 2023 WRC calendar

The World Rally Championship has revealed a 13-round 2023 calendar that features the return of Mexico and Chile alongside an all-new European tarmac rally.

Mexico, Chile and new European rally join 2023 WRC calendar

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

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 in 2024.

The championship will once again conclude on 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 came under scrutiny following a serious safety breach, it proved popular among teams and the local crowd.

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

World Rally Championship 2023 Calendar

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

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