WRC 2023 spread ‘good for the sport’

Mohammed Ben Sulayem

This file photo taken on April 12, 2012 shows former Middle East rally champion and vice-president International Federation of Automobiles (FIA) Mohammed Ben Sulayem speaking during a press conference in Kuwait City. Mohammed Ben Sulayem became the first non-European to be elected president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) on December 17, 2021 and succeeds the retiring Jean Todt.

Photo credit: Yasser Al-Zayyat | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The middle of the year reflects the 2022 calendar with Vodafone Rally de Portugal

International Automobile Federation (FIA) President Mohammed Ben Sulayem says fact that the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) will visit five distinct regions is a positive step towards engaging more people in motor sport, either as competitors, volunteers, officials or fans.

"By returning to North and South America in addition to rallies in Africa, Asia and Europe, the WRC is embracing a more global calendar, which has always been the intention of the FIA," said Sulayem as the 2023 WRC calendar was unveiled on Friday.

"We were absolutely determined to get the WRC calendar back to where it was pre-Covid, with a good spread of events inside and outside Europe," expressed WRC Promoter Senior Director of Events, Simon Larkin in the press statement.

His thoughts were echoed by WRC Promoter Managing Director Jona Siebel.

"We are incredibly happy to be returning to North and South America," said Siebel.

"We have maintained a dialogue with the Mexican and Chilean organisers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and we are confident this is now the right time for our return."

New-look winter rally

The championship opens from January 19-22 in Monte-Carlo, followed by the snow and ice of Sweden (February 9-12) in returns to Umeå city which successfully hosted debut of the new-look winter rally in 2022.

The first long-haul journey of the year takes the championship to Rally Guanajuato México from March 16 to 19 before a return to Europe for the first all-asphalt event of the year, Croatia Rally, from April 20 to 23. The Croatian fixture now enters its third edition and will once again be based out of the country’s capital Zagreb.

The middle of the year reflects the 2022 calendar with Vodafone Rally de Portugal (May 11-14), Rally Italia Sardegna (June 1-4), Safari Rally Kenya (June22–25), Rally Estonia (July 20-23), Secto Rally Finland (August 3–6) and EKO Acropolis Rally Greece (September7-10) returning with a similar look and feel. South America awaits as the WRC goes back to Concepción, Chile for the first time since it debuted in 2019.