2020 WRC to restart in September with the Estonia rally
The dates for the remainder of the 48th season of the FIA World Rally Championship are out. The championship will comprise at least eight events, with WRC Promoter continuing its already advanced talks for the Ypres Rally (October 2-4), with the aim of presenting Belgium as another available host country shortly.
The championship is now set to get underway at Tartu County, Estonia from September 4 to 6, 2020. Enthusiasts me remember that three rounds of the 2020 WRC season (Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico) had already been staged before the global pandemic and subsequent lockdown. When the proceedings had wound up at Guanajuato, six-time champion Sebastien Ogier was holding an eight-point advantage over his Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT teammate Elfyn Evans, courtesy Ogier’s victory last time out.
The remaining dates in the revised calendar for the 2020 World Rally Championship is as follows:
Rally Estonia's debut joins the fixture list after running as a WRC Promotional Event in 2019 and was announced at a press conference in Tallinn, the country’s capital, on Thursday. The Rally Estonia will be a short format event with a shakedown and opening ceremony on Friday, then two legs on Saturday and Sunday. It will be based in Tartu, in the east of the country, with the service park at the Estonian National Museum.
Moreover, it will undoubtedly be an emotional weekend for reigning world champion Ott Tanak, who will be competing in front of his home crowd for the first time.
Estonia's gravel road encounter precedes scheduled events in Turkey (September 24-27) and Germany (October 15-18) with the Rally Italia Sardegna, based in Alghero, moved up from June to October 29-November 1, making it the penultimate round before the season-closing return of Japan (November 19-22).
Meanwhile, Rally Argentina, which was postponed from April and traditionally attracts almost a million fans to the Cordoba province, has unfortunately now been cancelled. Additionally, talks with the Croatian Automobile & Karting Federation, for the inclusion of the Croatia round are also currently underway.
Regarding the restart of the 2020 WRC season, Oliver Ciesla, MD, WRC Promoter, said, "The restart announcement sends a clear signal that the 2020 WRC is back in business. WRC Promoter has worked tirelessly with the FIA, our competitors, teams and potential rallies, in exceptional circumstances, to revise the calendar, adding, “the fans demonstrate a huge passion for WRC in both Estonia and Italy. The expectation there, and across the sport in general, will build rapidly from now ahead of September's championship restart."
FIA rally director Yves Matton revealed: "I am confident we will secure a minimum of eight events this year and this is thanks to the great commitment and work from organisers. Preparations for these rounds are now in full swing while paying the greatest attention to key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the current Covid-19 context."
All remaining events are eligible for competitors in the WRC 2 and WRC 3 support categories. Future dates for the FIA Junior WRC Championship will be announced separately.