|Category||World Rally Car|
|Drivers' champion||Sébastien Ogier|
|Co-Drivers' champion||Julien Ingrassia|
| World Rally|
|Classes of competition|
The World Rally Championship (abbreviated as WRC) is the highest level of global competition in the motorsport discipline of rallying, governed and organised by the FIA. There are separate championships for drivers, co-drivers and manufacturers, with a new teams championship added in 2021. The series currently consists of 12 two to three-day events driven on surfaces ranging from gravel and tarmac to snow and ice. Each rally is usually split into 15–25 special stages which are run against the clock on closed roads.
The WRC was formed from well-known and popular international rallies, most of which had previously been part of the European Rally Championship or the International Championship for Manufacturers, and the series was first contested in 1973. The World Rally Car is the current car specification in the series. It evolved from Group A cars which replaced the banned Group B supercars. World Rally Cars are built on production 1.6-litre four-cylinder cars, but feature turbochargers, anti-lag systems, four-wheel-drive, sequential gearboxes, aerodynamic parts and other enhancements bringing the price of a WRC car to around €700,000 (US$1 million)
The WRC features three support championships, the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC, formerly the WRC Academy), the World Rally Championship-2, and the World Rally Championship-3 which are contested on the same events and stages as the WRC, but with different regulations. The WRC-2, WRC-3 and junior entrants race through the stages after the WRC drivers.
The World Rally Championship was formed from well-known international rallies, nine of which were previously part of the International Championship for Manufacturers (IMC), which was contested from 1970 to 1972. The 1973 World Rally Championship was the inaugural season of the WRC and began with the Monte Carlo Rally on January 19.
Alpine-Renault won the first manufacturer's world championship with its Alpine A110, after which Lancia took the title three years in a row with the Ferrari V6-powered Lancia Stratos HF, the first car designed and manufactured specifically for rallying. The first drivers' world championship was not awarded until 1979, although 1977 and 1978 seasons included an FIA Cup for Drivers, won by Italy's Sandro Munari and Finland's Markku Alén respectively. Sweden's Björn Waldegård became the first official world champion, edging out Finland's Hannu Mikkola by one point. Fiat took the manufacturers' title with the Fiat 131 Abarth in 1977, 1978 and 1980, Ford with its Escort RS1800 in 1979 and Talbot with its Sunbeam Lotus in 1981. Waldegård was followed by German Walter Röhrl and Finn Ari Vatanen as drivers' world champions.
The 1980s saw the rear-wheel-drive Group 2 and the more popular Group 4 cars be replaced by more powerful four-wheel-drive Group B cars. FISA legalized all-wheel-drive in 1979, but most manufacturers believed it was too complex to be successful. However, after Audi started entering Mikkola and the new four-wheel-drive Quattro in rallies for testing purposes with immediate success, other manufacturers started their all-wheel-drive projects. Group B regulations were introduced in the 1982, and with only a few restrictions allowed almost unlimited power. Audi took the constructors' title in 1982 and 1984 and drivers' title in 1983 (Mikkola) and 1984 (Stig Blomqvist). Audi's French female driver Michèle Mouton came close to winning the title in 1982, but had to settle for second place after Opel rival Röhrl. The 1985 title seemed set to go to Vatanen and his Peugeot 205 T16 but a bad accident at the Rally Argentina left him to watch compatriot and teammate Timo Salonen take the title instead. Italian Attilio Bettega had an even more severe crash with his Lancia 037 at the Tour de Corse and died instantly.
The 1986 started with impressive performances by Finns Henri Toivonen and Alén in Lancia's new turbo- and supercharged Delta S4, which could reportedly accelerate from 0–60 mph (96 km/h) in 2.3 seconds, on a gravel road. However, the season soon took a dramatic turn. At the Rally Portugal, three spectators were killed and over 30 injured after Joaquim Santos lost control of his Ford RS200. At the Tour de Corse, championship favourite Toivonen and his co-driver Sergio Cresto died in a fireball accident after plunging down a cliff. Only hours after the crash, Jean-Marie Balestre and the FISA decided to freeze the development of the Group B cars and ban them from competing in 1987. More controversy followed when Peugeot's Juha Kankkunen won the title after FIA annulled the results of the San Remo Rally, taking the title from fellow Finn Markku Alén.
As the planned Group S was also cancelled, Group A regulations became the standard in the WRC until 1997. A separate Group A championship had been organized as part of the WRC already in 1986, with Sweden's Kenneth Eriksson taking the title with a Volkswagen Golf GTI 16V.Lancia was quickest in adapting to the new regulations and controlled the world rally scene with Lancia Delta HF, winning the constructors' title six years in a row from 1987 to 1992 and remains the most successful marque in the history of the WRC. Kankkunen and Miki Biasion both took two drivers' titles with the Lancia Delta HF. The 1990s then saw the Japanese manufacturers, Toyota, Subaru and Mitsubishi, become title favourites. Spain's Carlos Sainz driving for Toyota Team Europe took the 1990 and 1992 titles with a Toyota Celica GT-Four. Kankkunen moved to Toyota for the 1993 season and won his record fourth title, with Toyota taking its first manufacturers' crown. Frenchman Didier Auriol brought the team further success in 1994, and soon Subaru and Mitsubishi continued the success of the Japanese constructors. Subaru's Scotsman Colin McRae won the drivers' world championship in 1995 and Subaru took the manufacturers' title three years in a row. Finland's Tommi Mäkinen driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution won the drivers' championship four times in a row, from 1996 to 1999. Mitsubishi also won the manufacturers' title in 1998. Another notable car was the Ford Escort RS Cosworth, which was specifically designed for rallying. It was the first production car to produce downforce both at front and rear.
For the 1997 World Rally Championship, the World Rally Car regulations were introduced as an intended replacement for Group A (only successive works Mitsubishis still conforming to the latter formula; until they, too, homologated a Lancer Evolution WRC from the 2001 San Remo Rally). After the success of Mäkinen and the Japanese manufacturers, France's Peugeot made a very successful return to the World Rally Championship. Finn Marcus Grönholm took the drivers' title in his first full year in the series and Peugeot won the manufacturers' crown. England's Richard Burns won the 2001 title with a Subaru Impreza WRC, but Grönholm and Peugeot took back both titles in the 2002. 2003 saw Norway's Petter Solberg become drivers' champion for Subaru and Citroën continue the success of the French manufacturers. Citroën's Sébastien Loeb went on to control the following seasons with his Citroën Xsara WRC. Citroën took the constructors' title three times in a row and Loeb surpassed Mäkinen's record of four consecutive drivers' titles, earning his ninth consecutive championship in 2012. Volkswagen Motorsport entered the championship in 2013 and Sebastien Ogier dominated the series with six consecutive titles. New World Rally Car rules were introduced for 2017 which generated faster and more aggressive cars.
In 2018, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT won the World Rally Championship earning Toyota their first manufacturers' title since 1999.With Tommi Mäkinen heading the team, he became the first person in the history of rally driving to win a Championship both as a driver and as a team principal.
Any crew entering any rally on the calendar qualify for eligibility to score points in the overall World Rally Championships for Drivers and Co-Drivers. This is regardless of car technical class, number of rallies entered or if they are also entered in to the support championships.
Manufacturers must register to be eligible to score in the World Rally Championship for Manufacturers and must compete in World Rally Car specification cars. As the manufacturers use the highest performance car and usually employ the best drivers it is usually the case that these crews and cars take the majority of drivers/co-drivers championship points. Thus, combined with the money invested by the manufacturer teams, promotion of the WRC only tends to include the manufacturer crews and privateers in the World Rally Car. These crews are given Priority 1 (P1) status on rallies and contest the stages before other crews. However it is not unusual for competitors in lower performance cars to take points in the drivers or co-driver's championships.
In 2021, the World Rally Championship for Teams was introduced although it only appears in the official sporting regulations as no promotion whatsoever is given to it elsewhere.
The World Rally Championship also features support championships called the World Rally Championship-2, the World Rally Championship-3 and the Junior World Rally Championship. These championships are contested on the same events and stages as the WRC calendar and have tighter restrictions on eligible car criteria - usually just one type.
WRC2 is contested using only Rally2 cars with championships for drivers, co-drivers and teams. Drivers and co-drivers can enter a maximum of 7 events and their best 6 results will count towards their championship tally. Teams must enter two cars into a maximum of 7 events, 1 of which must be outside of Europe and the best 6 results will count towards the championship tally. Power stage points are also awarded. Drivers, co-drivers and teams must all nominate if they wish to be eligible for championship points before a rally and can do so independently. For that reason the same crew pair in the same team may compete in all events in a season yet nominate and score points in different events. Crews competing in WRC2 are given Priority 2 status and run the stages immediately after P1 crews. WRC2 replaced SWRC when Group R was introduced in 2013 and the eligibility rules relaxed.
Like WRC2, WRC3 is contested using only Rally2 cars but with championships only for drivers and co-drivers. Designed for privateer drivers, WRC3 has lower entry costs than WRC2 and there are restrictions on who can enter, testing and professional support received. Drivers and co-drivers can enter up to 7 rallies with their best 5 scoring championship points, and scoring rounds must also be nominated beforehand. Power stage points are also awarded. Between 2013 and 2018, the championship was contested using two wheel drive cars from R1, R2 and R3 classes of Group R. No championship ran in 2019 but was reinstated in its current format in 2020. Crews competing in WRC3 are usually given Priority 3 status to run after the WRC2 crews, however some more experienced or higher profile crews may be given Priority 2 status.
JWRC is an FIA sanctioned championship run by M-Sport for drivers under 29. Ford Fiesta Rally4 cars are provided, maintained and serviced for each entrant. Championships are awarded to drivers, co-drivers and nations. Only 5 rounds of the WRC calendar are competed with the best 4 results counting towards championship points, although the final round is worth double points. The highest scoring driver from each country registers points for the nations championship. Uniquely for this series, points are also awarded for stage wins. Crews competing in J-WRC are given Priority 4 status and run on the stages after the WRC3/P3 crews.
The World Rally Championship Ladies Cup ran from 1990 to 1995 and could be won by any class of car. Louise Aitken-Walker was the first winner.
The Production car World Rally Championship (P-WRC) began in 1987 as the FIA Group N Cup before being renamed in 2002. Cars in the championship were production-based and homologated under Group N rules.From 2013, the Production WRC was renamed WRC-3 including Group R cars with two-wheel drive (R3, R2 and R1).
The 2-Litre World Rally Cup ran from 1993 to 1999 using front wheel drive cars with engine capacities up to 2000cc. With relaxed rules the cars could often outpace the Group A and World Rally Cars of the main category. The series was abandoned due to high costs and the Super 2000 and Super 1600 specification cars that the series inspired later became the origins for SWRC and JWRC.
The Super 2000 World Rally Championship (S-WRC) was started in 2010 using Super 2000 category cars.There were competitions for drivers (known as the S-WRC) and another for teams (the World Rally Championship Cup). From 2013, WRC-2 replaced S-WRC and including cars with four-wheel drive (R5, R4 and S2000).
World Rally Championship Academy (WRC Academy) was an alternative name for JWRC between 2011 and 2012, the first years the championship became a one-make series before reverting to the JWRC name.
The WRC Trophy was run in 2017 for privateers entering with older World Rally Cars when the new WRC+ was introduced.
World Rally Championship-2 Pro (WRC2PRO) ran only in 2019 and was open to manufacturer-supported teams entering cars complying with Group R5 regulations.It was replaced in 2020 with the Rally2 based WRC3.
One-make series tournaments have also run on select rounds of the WRC calendar. They were privately administered rally tournaments but permitted to run on the rallies alongside the WRC. Examples include the Ford Fiesta Sporting Trophy (2006, 2007 and 2009) and DMACK Fiesta Trophy (2014–2016), both ran by M-Sport, and Citroën Top Driver (2013) ran by Citroën. Neither team held these tournaments in the years they had the rights to manage the JWRC on the FIA's behalf.
|Evolution of the WRC Championships|
|FIA Cup||Drivers and co-drivers|
|Support Championships||PWRC||WRC 3 (2WD)||WRC 3|
|2 Litre Cup||SWRC||WRC 2|
Each WRC season consists of a number of rounds within the same calendar year and should ordinarily include rallies on a minimum of 3 continents.Most recently there have been about 13 rallies though there have been as few as 8 such as in 1995. The rallies are typically driven on surfaces ranging from gravel and tarmac to snow and ice.
In the current era each rally usually consists of between fifteen and thirty special stages of distances ranging from under 2 km (1.2 mi) (known as super special stages) to over 50 kilometres (31 mi). These competitive stages are driven on closed roads which are linked by non-competitive road sections—open roads on which all road laws of that country must be adhered to. On average a day consists of a total of 400 kilometres (250 mi) of driving. A WRC event begins with reconnaissance (recce) on Tuesday and Wednesday, allowing crews to drive through the stages and create or update their pace notes. On Thursday, teams can run through the shakedown stage to practice and test their set-ups. The competition typically begins on Friday and ends on Sunday, though some rallies—most notably the Monte Carlo Rally—may be run over four or five days. Cars start the stages at two-minute intervals in clear weather, or three-minute intervals if it is decided that visibility may be a problem for competitors. Each day, or leg , has a few designated service parks between the stages, where the teams can – within strict time limits – perform maintenance and repairs on their cars. The service park also allows spectators and the media to get close to the teams and their cars and drivers. Between the days, after a 45-minute end of day service, cars are locked away in parc fermé, a quarantine environment where teams are not permitted to access or work on their cars.
Points are awarded and contribute towards the world championships, and those with the most points at the end of the season are given the championship title. Points can be awarded derived from the overall final classification or from the Power Stage (below). The driver's championship and manufacturer's championship are separate but based on a similar point system. This means a driver can win the driver's championship driving one car yet a different manufacturer can win the manufacturer's championship which has occurred on several occasions, most recently in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Points are awarded at the end of each rally to the top ten overall finishers under the following points structure for drivers and co-drivers:
Manufacturers must nominate up to three crews to be eligible for manufacturer championship points before an event. The two fastest nominated crews from each manufacturer essentially form a new classification for the purpose of awarding manufacturer points in the same structure as above. Retired crews cannot score points and it is not unusual for a crew to finish way down the overall order, possibly after restarting, yet still score manufacturers points.
First introduced in 2011, the "Power Stage" is the final stage of the rally and is typically televised live and immediately followed by the rally's podium celebrations. Additional World Championship points are available to the five fastest drivers and co-drivers through the stage regardless of where they actually finish in the rally. The fastest team receiving five points, the second-fastest receiving four points, etc. and the fifth-fastest receiving one. In 2021 manufacturers began scoring power stage points following a similar system to the classification points, where only the top two nominated from each team can be eligible. Ordinary Special Stages are timed with an accuracy to the tenth of a second, the "Power Stage" timing is to the thousandth of a second.
Crews are permitted to restart the following day if they are forced to retire. For each stage not completed however, a ten-minute penalty plus the winning stage time in the same priority group is added to the overall time. Originally known as SuperRally when introduced and later renamed Rally 2, the rules allow for a better return on investment for competitors and more action for spectators. The Rally 2 name was dropped in 2019 as restarting became the norm, indeed crews are expected and assumed to be restarting unless they register a permanent retirement with the clerk of the course. The name was also dropped to avoid confusion with the new Rally2 group of car. Restarting is still at the discretion of the organisers, such as meeting safety standards after a heavy accident.
The rules surrounding which cars are used in WRC are governed and approved by the FIA. Cars have always followed a basic categorisation of being production, touring car or special grand touring cars with a minimum production requirement to achieve homologation by the FIA. The rules have changed over time to suit economic conditions, for safety reasons, to advance technology, to attract more manufacturer entrants or to better promote the series. Specifications of cars used can be for just one type, such as the World Rally Car, or a Group of similar specifications that differ in performance such as Group R. In 2014, the FIA introduced sporting classes to help further categorise the different classes and groups based on performance. RC1 has the highest performance cars whilst RC5 has the lowest permitted at WRC level.
To enter a WRC rally in 2021, cars must be homologated in one of the following groups or classes: World Rally Car 1.6L, any of the groups of the Rally Pyramid or either R3 or R-GT of Group R
The highest performing of the current eligible cars with 1.6L direct injection turbo engines and four-wheel drive built to World Rally Car regulations. The power output is limited to around 280 kW (380 hp). Current cars in the championship include the Ford Fiesta WRC, Toyota Yaris WRC and the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. The Volkswagen Polo R WRC ended its run with the close of the 2016 season. After Citroën pulled out at the end of 2019 its Citroën C3 WRC could not be used as the WRC rules state the manufacturer must maintain its own simultaneous entry.
2021 will be the final season of this specification at the top of the sport, being replaced by Rally1 in 2022 and bringing the main WRC championship in line with the aims of the Rally Pyramid.
The Rally Pyramid consists of six Groups of rally car specifications, five of which from Rally2 to Rally5 are currently eligible for WRC. Rally2 cars, formerly R5 of Group R, are the second highest performance cars and are the sole cars eligible for WRC-2 and WRC-3.
Rally2-Kit cars, previously known as R4-kit in Group R are also eligible for overall entry. Rally2 and Rally2-Kit are within the same sporting category - RC2.
Rally3 cars will also be used in WRC-3 from 2022.
Rally4 cars, formerly R2 of Group R, are currently the sole-specification used in J-WRC, though from 2022 will not have a specific support championship.
Rally5 cars, formerly R1 of Group R, do not have a specific support championship.
Rally1 cars complete the Groups Rally and will be introduced in 2022 and will replace the World Rally Car as the highest performance car. They will introduce hybrid powertrains for the first time in rallying amongst cost-cutting initiatives such as centrally developed tubular safety structures and simpler suspension and transmissions.
Starting in 2008, a category of rally cars known as Group R were introduced as a rally only replacement to the Group A and Group N categories which were slowly phased out of eligibility. Cars were classified under one of six categories based on their engine capacity and type, wheelbase, and drivetrain. Group R cars still had to be homologated in Group A or N but have the relevant Group R extension approved in common with other rally formulae. As a result, older cars could reclassify under Group R subject to meeting criteria.
With R5, R4, R2 and R1 of Group R being renamed and absorbed by the new Rally Pyramid, as of the 2021 season R3 and R-GT cars are still currently eligible for overall entry. R3 cars however have been downgraded to RC4 sporting class from RC3, in line with Rally4 cars rather than superseding them.Neither R3 or R-GT have specific WRC support championships.
When the WRC began in 1973, FISA allowed cars from its Group 1 (Series-production touring Cars), Group 2 (touring cars), Group 3 (series-production grand touring cars) and Group 4 (modified grand touring cars) amongst national classes. These FISA classes were also used in circuit racing and other motorsport championships. The groups formed the basis of new groups in 1982, Group N replaced Group 1, Group A replaced Group 2, and Group B replaced Group 4. Due to the increasing power, lack of reliability and a series of fatal accidents during the 1986 season, Group B was permanently banned. In 1987 Group A became the highest performance car and the choice for manufacturers whilst privateers opted for the budget friendly Group N for use in the newly created Production Car World Rally Championship. A Group N car has won a WRC rally only once - a Renault 5 driven by Alain Oreille won the Rallye Côte d'Ivoire in 1989. Despite the PWRC ending in 2012, Group N cars were allowed to enter WRC2 until 2016 and overall rallies until the end of 2018.
In 1997, the World Rally Car specification was introduced to ease the development of new cars and bring new makes to the competition. An extension of Group A, the WRC cars were used in the manufacturer's championship, although Mitsubishi received special dispensation to run their Group A models into 1999, and won three drivers and one manufacturers championships whilst doing so. In 2011 changes were made to the World Rally Car, the engine capacity was restricted to 1.6L and the minimum length requirement removed to allow for smaller and cost-effective models. Further changes in 2017 allowed for more aero-dynamics, increased safety requirements and a larger air intake restrictor, which increased the effective power from 300 to 380 hp.
|Evolution of Car Groups and Classes used in the WRC Manufacturers Championship.|
|Car Categories||Group 4||Group B|
|Group 2||Group A||World Rally Car 2.0L||World Rally Car 1.6L|
|Group 1||Group N|
Super 2000 cars were allowed to enter the overall rallies from 2007 to 2018. They were eligible in the PWRC from 2007 to 2009 before the Super 2000 World Rally Championship was ran between 2010 and 2012. They were also accepted in WRC2 from 2013 to 2016. Super 1600 cars were only allowed to enter in JWRC and on events that the championship was held on up to 2010 before the R2 became the sole championship car.
|Summary of Car Groups and Classes otherwise permitted to enter rallies or in support championships.|
|Group N||N4 (>2.0L)||PWRC||WRC2||Overall|
|N1-N3 (<=2.0L)||PWRC||PWRC / 2.0L Cup||PWRC||JWRC||Overall||WRC2||Overall|
|Group A||A8 (>2.0L)||Overall|
|A5-A7 (<=2.0L)||2.0L Cup||Overall||JWRC||Overall|
|Super 1600||JWRC Only|
|Group R||R1 (Rally5)||JWRC||PWRC||WRC3||Overall|
|R4 / (Rally2-Kit)||S/PWRC||WRC2||Overall exc-Europe||O|
21 different manufacturers have won a World Rally Championship event: Citroën, Ford, Lancia, Toyota, Peugeot, Subaru, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Audi, Fiat, Hyundai, Datsun/Nissan, Opel, Renault, Renault-Alpine, Saab, Mazda, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Talbot.With a further 11 having finished on the podium: Seat, Mini, Vauxhall, Alfa Romeo, Volvo, Ferrari, MG, Polski Fiat, Škoda, Triumph and Wartburg. Lancia, with ten Manufacturers' Championships, has won more championships than any other marque.
Suzuki and Subaru pulled out of the WRC at the end of the 2008 championship, both citing the economic downturn then affecting the automotive industry for their withdrawal. Mini and Ford both pulled out of the WRC at the end of the 2012 championship, due to a similar economic downturn affecting the European market, although Ford continued to give technical support to M-Sport.
A typical WRC team will consist of about 40 people on the events, with a further 60–100 at the team base.
Manufacturers and manufacturer-backed teams usually have two or three drivers participating in each rally who are eligible to score points. The total number of crews (driver and their co-driver) in the rallies varied from 47 (Monte Carlo and Mexico) to 108 (Great Britain) during the 2007.
In 2012, the Ford World Rally Team and the Mini WRC Team both announced their departure from the World Rally Championships for the 2013 season. Volkswagen and Hyundai made their return to the championship in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Toyota announced it will return to the World Rally Championships for the 2017 seasonwith its Toyota Gazoo Racing team and its Toyota Yaris WRC car. Also Citroën will return to the sport in 2017 with a fully factory-supported team after competing part-time in 2016 to focus on the development of their 2017-generation brand-new car based on the Citroën C3.
WRC Promoter GmbH owns the commercial rights to the WRC championships, responsible for all media coverage, sponsorship operations and encouraging of participants. WRC Promoter GmbH is jointly owned by Red Bull Media House and KW25 Beteiligungs GmbH.Through the Red Bull Content Pool, WRC provides news, articles and images for professional news and media outlets free of charge. The WRC.com website and mobile apps provides news, live rally times and results, championship standings and information about the rallies and championships.
Video coverage is provided in various forms at WRC.com, mobile or smart TV apps. Brief highlights, clips on technology and documentary videos are free to watch, whilst a paid-for subscription is required to watch premium content via WRC+. This service features the same highlights and review videos as produced for TV, as well as onboard footage, live map tracking, and since 2018 WRC+ All Live, live coverage and commentary from every stage during each rally event.
Brief and free video footage is also provided via social media platforms. In addition, the first running of Shakedown is often shown live on YouTube and Facebook though is not shown via WRC+.
Red Bull also produce feature-length programmes for Red Bull TV using stage footage from WRC TV combined with their own presenting team and insight from guest pundits. Dirtfish.com also provide some video content in a similar way, though usually not as long.
WRC TV produces previews, daily highlights and event reviews for each rally, as well as other magazine shows such as season reviews for broadcast television. Some TV stations also broadcast the power stage and select other stages live, usually two stages on a Saturday and the first run of what will be the power stage. Further, TV stations may broadcast the entire All Live live stream, typically via an interactive channel.
The make up and format for these programmes can vary from country to country depending on the local broadcaster and prominence of local drivers. In 2016, the cumulative worldwide TV audience for WRC TV's programmes was more than 700 million, growing to 836 million in 2019. The programming is available in over 150 markets and more than 12,000 hours were screened globally in 2016, reducing to under 10,000 hours in 2019.
Live radio coverage was provided in English by WRC Live via the Internet, featuring end of stage reports direct from the drivers and teams plus service park news. They also produced podcasts. It also featured contemporary music during breaks in rally coverage.World Rally Radio ceased in 2018 when WRC+ All Live began.
An official podcast is frequently produced. The latest version Backstories has interviewed drivers and co-drivers since 2020.
|Season||Championship for Drivers||Championship for Manufacturers|
|2020||Sébastien Ogier||Toyota Yaris WRC||Hyundai||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC|
|2019||Ott Tänak||Toyota Yaris WRC||Hyundai||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC|
|2018||Sébastien Ogier||Ford Fiesta WRC||Toyota||Toyota Yaris WRC|
|2017||Sébastien Ogier||Ford Fiesta WRC||M-Sport (Ford)||Ford Fiesta WRC|
|2016||Sébastien Ogier||Volkswagen Polo R WRC||Volkswagen||Volkswagen Polo R WRC|
|2015||Sébastien Ogier||Volkswagen Polo R WRC||Volkswagen||Volkswagen Polo R WRC|
|2014||Sébastien Ogier||Volkswagen Polo R WRC||Volkswagen||Volkswagen Polo R WRC|
|2013||Sébastien Ogier||Volkswagen Polo R WRC||Volkswagen||Volkswagen Polo R WRC|
|2012||Sébastien Loeb||Citroën DS3 WRC||Citroën||Citroën DS3 WRC|
|2011||Sébastien Loeb||Citroën DS3 WRC||Citroën||Citroën DS3 WRC|
|2010||Sébastien Loeb||Citroën C4 WRC||Citroën||Citroën C4 WRC|
|2009||Sébastien Loeb||Citroën C4 WRC||Citroën||Citroën C4 WRC|
|2008||Sébastien Loeb||Citroën C4 WRC||Citroën||Citroën C4 WRC|
|2007||Sébastien Loeb||Citroën C4 WRC||Ford||Ford Focus RS WRC 06/07|
|2006||Sébastien Loeb||Citroën Xsara WRC||Ford||Ford Focus RS WRC 06|
|2005||Sébastien Loeb||Citroën Xsara WRC||Citroën||Citroën Xsara WRC|
|2004||Sébastien Loeb||Citroën Xsara WRC||Citroën||Citroën Xsara WRC|
|2003||Petter Solberg||Subaru Impreza WRC 2003||Citroën||Citroën Xsara WRC|
|2002||Marcus Grönholm||Peugeot 206 WRC||Peugeot||Peugeot 206 WRC|
|2001||Richard Burns||Subaru Impreza WRC 2001||Peugeot||Peugeot 206 WRC|
|2000||Marcus Grönholm||Peugeot 206 WRC||Peugeot||Peugeot 206 WRC|
|1999||Tommi Mäkinen||Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI||Toyota||Toyota Corolla WRC|
|1998||Tommi Mäkinen||Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V||Mitsubishi||Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V|
|1997||Tommi Mäkinen||Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV||Subaru||Subaru Impreza WRC|
|1996||Tommi Mäkinen||Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III||Subaru||Subaru Impreza 555|
|1995||Colin McRae||Subaru Impreza 555||Subaru||Subaru Impreza 555|
|1994||Didier Auriol||Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD||Toyota||Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD|
|1993||Juha Kankkunen||Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD||Toyota||Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD|
|1992||Carlos Sainz||Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD||Lancia||Lancia Delta HF Integrale|
|1991||Juha Kankkunen||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V||Lancia||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1990||Carlos Sainz||Toyota Celica GT-Four||Lancia||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1989||Miki Biasion||Lancia Delta Integrale||Lancia||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1988||Miki Biasion||Lancia Delta Integrale||Lancia||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1987||Juha Kankkunen||Lancia Delta HF 4WD||Lancia||Lancia Delta HF 4WD|
|1986||Juha Kankkunen||Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 E2||Peugeot||Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 E2|
|1985||Timo Salonen||Peugeot 205 Turbo 16||Peugeot||Peugeot 205 Turbo 16|
|1984||Stig Blomqvist||Audi Quattro||Audi||Audi Quattro|
|1983||Hannu Mikkola||Audi Quattro||Lancia||Lancia Rally 037|
|1982||Walter Röhrl||Opel Ascona 400||Audi||Audi Quattro|
|1981||Ari Vatanen||Ford Escort RS1800||Talbot||Talbot Sunbeam Lotus|
|1980||Walter Röhrl||Fiat 131 Abarth||Fiat||Fiat 131 Abarth|
|1979||Björn Waldegård||Ford Escort RS1800||Ford||Ford Escort RS1800|
|1978||Markku Alén||Fiat 131 Abarth||Fiat||Fiat 131 Abarth|
|1977||Sandro Munari||Lancia Stratos HF||Fiat||Fiat 131 Abarth|
|1976||No drivers' championship||Lancia||Lancia Stratos HF|
|1975||Lancia||Lancia Stratos HF|
|1974||Lancia||Lancia Stratos HF|
Updated after 2021 Acropolis Rally. Drivers and manufacturers who have participated in the 2021 World Rally Championship are in bold.
|Valid only for 2 Litres Cup|
|Wales Rally GB||46|
|Tour de Corse||40|
|Rally di Sanremo||29|
|Monte Carlo Rally||44|
|Rallye du Maroc||3|
|Rally Rideau Lakes||1|
|Critérium du Quebec||3|
|Rally New Zealand||31|
|Rallye Côte d'Ivoire||15|
|Rally of Turkey||9|
|Rally di Sardegna||17|
There have been many video games based on the World Rally Championship, and due to lack of licenses, many more based on only certain cars, drivers or events. Sega Rally was released in 1995, V-Rally and Top Gear Rally in 1997 and the first game in the very popular Colin McRae Rally series in 1998. Rally Trophy , released in 2001 for Microsoft Windows by Bugbear, concentrated on historic cars such as Alpine A110 and Lancia Stratos. RalliSport Challenge , released in 2002 for Windows and Xbox by Digital Illusions CE, featured classic Group B cars and hillclimb models along with modern WRC cars.
Fully FIA licensed WRC: World Rally Championship was released in 2001 for PlayStation 2 by Evolution Studios. The video game series had its fifth game, WRC: Rally Evolved , in 2005. Racing simulator Richard Burns Rally , released in 2004 for several platforms, has gathered recognition for its realism. Recent top-selling games include Colin McRae: DiRT 2 , Sega Rally Revo and Dirt 3 . Gran Turismo 5 includes WRC licensed cars from manufacturers such as Subaru and Ford. In October 2010, Black Bean Games released WRC: FIA World Rally Championship which features the cars, drivers and events of the 2010 World Rally Championship, including those from the three support categories. A downloadable patch was produced allowing players to drive in Group B cars such as the Audi Quattro.Various cars whose participated in the WRC such as Mitsubishi Lancer WRC and Ford Fiesta RS WRC have also appeared in the Facebook game Car Town . The WRC video game license was acquired by French game development studio Kylotonn from Milestone srl after the release of WRC 4: FIA World Rally Championship in 2013. The first WRC game by Kylotonn was WRC 5 , released in 2015, with successive releases on a near-annual basis with WRC 10 due in 2021. The WRC license will pass to Codemasters for the period of 2023 to 2027.
eSports WRC is an online championship run via the latest official video game. Beginning in 2016, the championship is free and open to anybody with a copy of the game. Each esports season ends with a Grand Finale with competitors gathering for an on-site event to race each other, usually in the service park of an actual rally event. Previous eSports WRC champion Jon Armstrong is also a physical rally driver, and racehouse Williams run a team.
Carlos Sainz Cenamor is a Spanish rally driver. He won the World Rally Championship drivers' title with Toyota in 1990 and 1992, and finished runner-up four times. Constructors' world champions to have benefited from Sainz are Subaru (1995), Toyota (1999) and Citroën. In the 2018 season he was one of the official drivers of the Team Peugeot Total. He received the Princess of Asturias Sports Award in 2020.
Juha Matti Pellervo Kankkunen is a Finnish former rally driver. His factory team career in the World Rally Championship lasted from 1983 to 2002. He won 23 world rallies and four drivers' world championship titles, which were both once records in the series. Both Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier have since collected more world titles, but no driver has so far been able to repeat Kankkunen's feat of becoming a world champion with three different manufacturers, but Ogier has managed to match this achievement in 2020.
The FIA Junior World Rally Championship is a support championship of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) specifically aimed at offering young drivers a chance to gain experience and publicity at an affordable cost. The category has been a stepping stone in the career of WRC Champions Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier, as well as current drivers such as Dani Sordo, Elfyn Evans and Thierry Neuville. Junior WRC differs from other WRC support championship as all cars are identical, provided and serviced by the same entity under contract to the FIA. The current car used is a Ford Fiesta Rally4. Championship titles are awarded to the winning Driver and Co-Driver. There is also a Nations Trophy.
Markku Allan Alén is a Finnish former rally and race car driver. He drove for Fiat, Lancia, Subaru and Toyota in the World Rally Championship, and held the record for most stage wins (801) in the series, until Sébastien Loeb overtook it at the 2011 Rally Catalunya. Alén's phrase "now maximum attack" became well-known.
The 1997 World Rally Championship was the 25th season of the FIA World Rally Championship. The season saw many changes in the championship. Most notably, Group A was partially replaced by the World Rally Car with manufacturers given the option which regulations to construct to. One inherent benefit to manufacturers by adopting WRC regulations was removing the need to mass-produce road-going versions of the cars that they competed with, under the previous rules for homologation. This meant that vehicles such as the Escort RS Cosworth and Subaru Impreza Turbo no longer had to be mass-produced for general sale in order to compete at World Championship level, and thus acting as a means of attracting increased competition and involvement by manufacturers. In the few years that follow, the Championship saw the added presence of WRC cars from companies such as Hyundai, Seat, Citroën, and Peugeot, who would all compete under WRC regulations without having to manufacture equivalent specialised road cars for public sale. Both Ford and Subaru switched to WRC in 1997, except Mitsubishi who stayed with Group A to maintain the links to their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution road cars. Subaru's transition was much more gradual for similar reasons with the early Subaru Impreza WRCs still largely Group A in nature.
The Ford World Rally Team, also known as the Ford Motor Co. Team prior to 2005, is Ford Motor Company's full factory World Rally Championship team. In its current form, it has been a competitor since the 1997 season, when Ford Motor Company's motorsport arm selected the Malcolm Wilson Motorsport company to run its factory team, entering the Ford Escort World Rally Car. The new team took their first victory in the 1997 Acropolis Rally.
The 2009 World Rally Championship was the 37th season of the FIA World Rally Championship. The season consisted of twelve rallies and began on 30 January, with Rally Ireland and ended with Rally GB on 25 October. Sébastien Loeb won the World Drivers' championship at Rally GB by one point from Mikko Hirvonen, taking his sixth consecutive crown. Citroën secured their fifth Manufacturers' title, Martin Prokop won the JWRC Drivers' championship and Armindo Araujo won the PWRC Drivers' championship.
The 2010 World Rally Championship was the 38th season of the FIA World Rally Championship. The season consisted of 13 rallies, beginning with Rally Sweden on 11 February and ended with Wales Rally GB on 14 November.
The FIA World Rally Championship-2 or WRC-2, is a support championship of the World Rally Championship. The calendar consists of the same rallies and stages as the main class and crews usually compete immediately after. WRC-2 is limited to production-based cars homologated under Rally2 rules. Like the main class, teams must enter the cars and privateers cannot enter directly. There are separate championship titles awarded to Teams, Drivers and Co-Drivers. The current format began in 2013 with the introduction of Group R.
The 2014 FIA Junior World Rally Championship was the thirteenth season of the Junior World Rally Championship, an auto racing championship recognized by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, running in support of the World Rally Championship. It was previously known as the WRC Academy.
The 2017 FIA World Rally Championship was the 45th season of the World Rally Championship, an auto racing championship recognised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) as the highest class of international rallying. Teams and crews contested in thirteen events—starting in Monte Carlo on 19 January and ending in Australia on 19 November—for the World Rally Championships for Drivers, Co-drivers and Manufacturers. Drivers were free to compete in cars complying with World Rally Car and Group R regulations; however, only Manufacturers competing with 2017-specification World Rally Cars were eligible to score points in the Manufacturers' championship. The series were supported by the WRC-2 and WRC-3 championships and the newly created WRC Trophy at every round, and by the Junior World Rally Championship at selected rounds.
The 2018 FIA World Rally Championship was the 46th season of the World Rally Championship, an auto racing championship recognised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) as the highest class of international rallying. Teams and crews were competing in thirteen events—starting with the Monte Carlo Rally in January and finishing with Rally Australia in November—for the World Rally Championships for Drivers, Co-drivers and Manufacturers. Crews were free to compete in cars complying with World Rally Car and Group R regulations; however, only Manufacturers competing with 2017-specification World Rally Cars were eligible to score points in the Manufacturers' championship. The series were once again supported by the World Rally Championship-2 and World Rally Championship-3 categories at every round and by the Junior World Rally Championship at selected rounds.
The 2018 Rally Finland was a motor racing event for rally cars that held over four days between 26 and 29 July 2018. It marked the sixty-eighth running of Rally Finland, and was the eighth round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship and its support categories, the WRC-2 and WRC-3 championships, and the fourth round of the Junior WRC championship. The event was based in Jyväskylä in Central Finland and consisted of twenty-three special stages totalling 317.26 km (197.14 mi) in competitive kilometres.
The 2018 Rally Catalunya was a motor racing event for rally cars that took place between 25 and 28 October. The event was open to entries competing in World Rally Cars and cars complying with Group R regulations. It marked the fifty-fourth running of Rally Catalunya and was the twelfth round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship, the highest class of competition in international rallying. Seventy-six crews, including manufacturer teams and privateers, were entered to compete in the World Rally Championship, the FIA World Rally Championship-2 and FIA World Rally Championship-3 support series and the Spanish national Rally Championship and Peugeot Rally Cup Ibérica championship. The 2018 event was based in Salou in Tarragona and consisted of eighteen special stages. The rally covered a total competitive distance of a 331.58 km and an additional 1,132.79 km in transport stages.
The 2018 Rally Australia was a motor racing event for rally cars that took place between 15 and 18 November. The event was open to entries competing in World Rally Cars and cars complying with Group R regulations. It marked the twenty-seventh running of Rally Australia and was the final round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship and its support series, the WRC-2 and WRC-3 championships. The 2018 event was based in Coffs Harbour in New South Wales and consisted of twenty-four special stages. The rally covered a total competitive distance of a 316.30 km and an additional 698.91 km in transport stages.
The 2019 FIA World Rally Championship was the forty-seventh season of the World Rally Championship, an auto racing championship recognised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) as the highest class of international rallying. Teams and crews competed in fourteen events for the World Rally Championships for Drivers, Co-drivers and Manufacturers. Crews were free to compete in cars complying with World Rally Car and Group R regulations; however, only Manufacturers competing with World Rally Cars homologated under regulations introduced in 2017 were eligible to score points in the Manufacturers' championship. The series was once again supported by the World Rally Championship-2 category at every round, which was split into 2 classifications: the World Rally Championship-2 Pro for manufacturer entries and the World Rally Championship-2 for private entries, and by the Junior World Rally Championship at selected events. The World Rally Championship-3 was discontinued in 2018.
The 2019 Rally Mexico was a motor racing event for rally cars that was held over four days between 7 and 10 March 2019. It marked the sixteenth running of Rally Mexico and was the third round of the 2019 World Rally Championship, World Rally Championship-2 and the newly-created WRC-2 Pro class. The 2019 event was based in the town of León in Guanajuato and consisted of twenty-one special stages. The rally covered a total competitive distance of 316.51 km (196.67 mi).
The 2019 Rally Turkey is a motor racing event for rally cars that was held over four days between 12 and 15 September 2019. It marked the twelfth running of Rally Turkey and was the eleventh round of the 2019 World Rally Championship, World Rally Championship-2 and the newly-created WRC-2 Pro class. The 2019 event was based in Marmaris in Muğla Province, and was contested over seventeen special stages with a total a competitive distance of 310.10 km (192.69 mi).
The 2019 Rally Australia was a motor racing event for rally cars that was scheduled to be held over four days between 14 and 17 November 2019. The event was cancelled because of an ongoing bushfire emergency in the area. The event was to mark the twenty-eighth running of Rally Australia and was the final round of the 2019 World Rally Championship, WRC-2 Pro class and World Rally Championship-2. The 2019 event would have been based in Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, and contested over twenty-five special stages with a total a competitive distance of 324.53 km (201.65 mi). Rally Australia will not be featured in the 2020 championship.
The 2020 FIA World Rally Championship was the forty-eighth season of the World Rally Championship, an auto racing competition recognised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) as the highest class of international rallying. Teams and crews competed in seven rallies for the World Rally Championships for Drivers, Co-drivers and Manufacturers. Crews were free to compete in cars complying with Rally1 and Rally2 regulations; however, only manufacturers competing with World Rally Cars homologated under regulations introduced in 2017 were eligible to score points in the Manufacturers' championship. The championship began in January 2020 with the Rallye Monte-Carlo and concluded in December 2020 with Rally Monza. The series was supported by the World Rally Championship-2, World Rally Championship-3 and Junior World Rally Championship categories at selected events.
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