2020 World Rally Championship
|2020 FIA World Rally Championship|
FIA World Rally Championship-2
FIA World Rally Championship-3
FIA Junior World Rally Championship
The 2020 FIA World Rally Championship is 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 are due to compete in fourteen rallies for the World Rally Championships for Drivers, Co-drivers and Manufacturers. Crews are 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 are eligible to score points in the Manufacturers' championship. The championship is due to begin in January 2020 with the Rallye Monte Carlo and conclude in November 2020 with Rally Japan. The series will be supported by the World Rally Championship-2, World Rally Championship-3 and Junior World Rally Championship categories at selected events.
Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja are the defending Drivers' and Co-drivers' Champions, having secured their maiden titles at the 2019 Rally Catalunya. Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT, the team Tänak and Järveoja will compete for, are the defending Manufacturers' Champions.[a] Hyundai won their maiden manufacturers' title when the final round of the 2019 championship was cancelled.
After the third round, six-time world champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia lead drivers' and co-drivers' championships by eight points ahead of Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin. Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul are third, a further twelve points behind. In the manufacturers' championship, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT holds a twenty-one-point lead over the reigning manufacturer champion Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT, with M-Sport Ford WRT in third.
|Round||Start date||Finish date||Rally||Rally headquarters||Surface||Stages||Distance||Ref.|
|1||23 January||26 January||Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo||Gap, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur||Mixed[b]||16||304.28 km|||
|2||13 February||16 February||Rally Sweden||Torsby, Värmland||Snow||11||171.64 km[c]|||
|3||12 March||15 March||Rally Guanajuato México||León, Guanajuato||Gravel||21||268.84 km[d]|||
|–||N/A||N/A||Rally Chile||Concepción, Biobío||Gravel||Cancelled[e]|||
|4||16 July||19 July||Safari Rally Kenya||Nairobi, Nairobi County||Gravel||TBA||TBA|
|5||6 August||9 August||Rally Finland||Jyväskylä, Central Finland||Gravel||TBA||TBA|
|6||3 September||6 September||Rally New Zealand||Auckland, Auckland Region||Gravel||TBA||TBA|
|7||24 September||27 September||Rally of Turkey||Marmaris, Muğla||Gravel||TBA||TBA|
|8||15 October||18 October||ADAC Rallye Deutschland||Bostalsee, Saarland||Tarmac||TBA||TBA|
|9||29 October||1 November||Wales Rally GB||Llandudno, Conwy||Gravel||TBA||TBA|
|10||19 November||22 November||Rally Japan||Nagoya, Chūbu||Tarmac||TBA||TBA|
|TBA||TBA[f]||TBA[f]||Rally Argentina||Villa Carlos Paz, Córdoba||Gravel||16||322.36 km|||
|TBA||TBA[g]||TBA[g]||Rally de Portugal||Matosinhos, Porto||Gravel||22||331.10 km|||
|TBA||TBA[h]||TBA[h]||Rally Italia Sardegna||Alghero, Sardinia||Gravel||20||308.57 km|||
With the addition of Rally Chile to the calendar in 2019, the FIA opened the tender process for new events to join the championship in 2020. Bids to revive Rally Japan and the Safari Rally were received, and candidate events were run in 2019. Both events were accepted to the 2020 calendar, as was a proposal to revive Rally New Zealand.
- The Safari Rally is scheduled to be run as a World Championship event for the first time since 2002. The event is to be based in the Kenyan capital Nairobi and feature stages around Lake Naivasha. In contrast to the event's traditional endurance format, which featured stages hundreds of kilometres long, the 2020 Safari Rally is planned to follow a compact route to comply with FIA regulations mandating the maximum route distance.
- Rally Japan returns to the calendar for the first time since 2010, replacing Rally Australia as the final round of the championship. The rally is scheduled to move away from its original headquarters in Hokkaidō to a new base in Nagoya and is to be run on tarmac rather than gravel.
- Rally New Zealand is scheduled to return to the calendar for the first time since 2012. The event is planned to return to Auckland.
The addition of these events saw the Tour de Corse and the Rallies of Catalunya and Australia removed from the calendar. Organisers of Rally Catalunya agreed to forfeit their place on the 2020 calendar as part of a rotation system that will see European events host rallies in two out of three calendar years. The Tour de Corse was removed in response to concerns from teams about the logistics of visiting Corsica, while Rally Australia was removed as the event's base in a regional centre rather than a major metropolitan area meant that the rally struggled to attract spectators. Rally Chile was included on the original calendar, but was later cancelled in the face of ongoing political unrest in the country. The FIA responded to the cancellation by seeking a replacement event to ensure that the calendar retained its planned fourteen rounds, but were unable to do so. The Rallies of Argentina, Italy and Portugal were later postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the Rally Sweden, it was confirmed that the route for the rally had to be shortened due to a lack of snow. The route of Rally Mexico was shortened to allow teams time to pack up and return to their headquarters before several European nations imposed travel bans in a bid to manage the pandemic.
The following teams and crews are under contract to contest the 2020 championship.[i] Ford, Hyundai and Toyota are all represented by manufacturer teams and eligible to score points in the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers. All competitors use tyres supplied by Michelin.
|Entrant||Car||No.||Driver name||Co-driver name||Rounds|
|Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||6||Dani Sordo||Carlos del Barrio||3|
|8||Ott Tänak||Martin Järveoja||1–3|
|9||Sébastien Loeb||Daniel Elena||1|
|11||Thierry Neuville||Nicolas Gilsoul||1–3|
|16||Craig Breen||Paul Nagle||2|
|M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford Fiesta WRC||3||Teemu Suninen||Jarmo Lehtinen||1–3|
|4||Esapekka Lappi||Janne Ferm||1–3|
|44||Gus Greensmith||Elliott Edmondson||1, 3|
|Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota Yaris WRC||17||Sébastien Ogier||Julien Ingrassia||1–3|
|33||Elfyn Evans||Scott Martin||1–3|
|69||Kalle Rovanperä||Jonne Halttunen||1–3|
|Entrant||Car||No.||Driver name||Co-driver name||Rounds|
|Latvala Motorsport||Toyota Yaris WRC||10||Jari-Matti Latvala||Juho Hänninen||2|
|Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||Toyota Yaris WRC||18||Takamoto Katsuta||Daniel Barritt||1–2|
|M-Sport Ford WRT||Ford Fiesta WRC||[j]||Deividas Jocius||Mindaugas Varža||1–3|
|TBA||TBA||TBA||Pierre-Louis Loubet||Vincent Landais||TBA|
Reigning World Champions Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja left Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT and moved to Hyundai Motorsport. The Estonian pair chose not to compete with the number 1, which may only be used by the defending champions. Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul remained with Hyundai, marking their seventh season with the team. Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena also renewed their contracts with the team. Loeb and Elena will contest the championship on a part-time basis, sharing their car with the crew of Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio. Crews led by Andreas Mikkelsen and Craig Breen were left without drives. Hyundai announced that they could form a second team for Breen and Mikkelsen to contest selected rallies, and later entered Breen in Rally Sweden.
The Citroën World Rally Team had committed to entering two full-time entries instead of three, continuing the policy they introduced in 2019. Sébastien Ogier and Esapekka Lappi were under contract to lead the team's crews until the team announced that they would withdraw from the championship with immediate effect. Citroën cited Ogier's decision to leave the team as the reason for withdrawing,[k] but pledged support for independent teams competing with the R5 variant of the Citroën C3 WRC in the championship's support categories. The company also expressed a willingness to sell or rent their C3 WRCs to teams looking to compete in the sport's premier category.
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT will feature an entirely new line-up in 2020. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia will replace Ott Tänak and Martin Jarveojä, while Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin were recruited from M-Sport Ford WRT. Reigning World Rally Championship-2 Pro champions Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen will make their competitive début in Toyota's third car. Toyota will enter an additional two cars for Jari-Matti Latvala and Takamoto Katsuta on a part-time basis. Katsuta will contest all of the European rallies under the Toyota Gazoo Racing name while Latvala will contest two events—with further starts depending on his budget—as an independent entrant. Former Toyota Gazoo Racing driver Juho Hänninen will be Latvala's co-driver, replacing Miikka Anttila. Anttila moved to the World Rally Championship-3, partnering Eerik Pietarinen. Kris Meeke remained under contract with the team, but stepped back from full-time competition.
M-Sport Ford WRT continued their policy of entering two crews on a full-time basis and a third crew contesting selected rounds. Teemu Suninen and Jarmo Lehtinen were retained, while Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm replaced Evans and Martin in the team's second car. Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson, who contested three rounds of the 2019 championship with the team, will contest an expanded programme of nine rounds in 2020.
Reigning World Rally Championship-2 champions Pierre-Louis Loubet and Vincent Landais are expected to make their début in a World Rally Car during the year. Loubet will combine his World Rally Championship programme with a factory-supported drive in the World Rally Championship-2.
The eligibility requirements for crews entering events will be simplified and streamlined into a system called the "FIA Rally Pyramid". The top tier of the sport, known as "Rally 1" will be for World Rally Cars built to regulations introduced in 2017. The second tier, "Rally 2", will be for manufacturer teams and professional independent teams entering R5 cars in the World Rally Championship-2. This will be followed by "Rally 3" for privately-entered and "gentlemen driver" crews competing with R5 cars in the World Rally Championship-3. "Rally 4" entries will not contest their own dedicated championship, but will instead serve as a bridging category aimed at making the step from R2 to R5 more manageable by allowing R2 entries to be equipped with four-wheel drive. The final tier, "Rally 5", will be for crews entering R2 cars in the Junior World Rally Championship.
The 2020 FIA World Rally Championship kicked off in Monaco following a series of crew changes, including reigning world champions Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja's shocking move to Hyundai. However, just on the fourth stage of Monte Carlo Rally, they suffered a high-speed crash; their Hyundai i20 flying off a 40-metre high cliff at 180 km/h (111.8 mph), rolling end-over-end through a series of trees before landing on the road below — with both driver and co-driver remarkably walking away uninjured. Following the Estonian crew's huge crash, the pressure were all down to teammates Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul. Despite posting an astonishing time at Thursday night, the Belgian crew still lost their lead to Toyota rivals, six-time world champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, and teammates Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin, on Friday. But the Hyundai crew found their form back on Saturday, winning seven out of the eight final stages, including the Power Stage victory, to seal the Monte Carlo rally for the first time in their careers.
As a result of winning the season opener, the Belgian crew became the road sweeper in the Rally Sweden, which made them struggle throughout the weekend, especially considering the rally was shortened due to a lack of snow. They rally was eventually won by Evans and Martin. The Toyota crew dominated the rally, winning five stages out of nine, to seal the victory — the second for Evans, the first for Martin — to lead both drivers' and co-drivers' standings for the first time in their careers. One more surprise came from the youngster Kalle Rovanperä. The Finn took his first stage win by winning the Power Stage alongside his co-driver Jonne Halttunen as well as achieve their maiden podium finish. At the age of nineteen, Rovanperä became the youngest driver ever to claim a WRC podium finish.
Coming to Latin America, the global was shrouding under the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the postponements of the Rally Argentina, Rally Portugal and Rally Sardegna. Although the Rally Mexico still headed off, the final leg of the rally was cancelled in response to increased travel restrictions stemming from the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. This meant the rally was shortened to two legs. In the first leg, Hyundai was in deep trouble. Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja were leading the rally until they dropped over forty seconds when picking up rear suspension damage. Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul were running third overall, but they had to retire from the day with electrical problem. Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio suffered a radiator pipe issue on the morning loop, which dropped them five minutes. Things went from bad to worse in the afternoon loop, as another late terminal engine meant a complete exit at the Spanish crew's season debut. One more retirement came from Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm when their Fiesta caught fire. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia enjoyed a trouble-free weekend, and won their first rally of the season. With a consistent performance in the early season, the six-time world champions took an early lead in the championships. After another strong weekend, Toyota took an early lead in the manufacturers' championship, twenty-one points ahead of defending manufacturer champion Hyundai.
Results and standingsEdit
|Round||Event||Winning driver||Winning co-driver||Winning entrant||Winning time||Report||Ref.|
|1||Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo||Thierry Neuville||Nicolas Gilsoul||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||3:10:57.6||Report|||
|2||Rally Sweden||Elfyn Evans||Scott Martin||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||1:11:43.1||Report|||
|3||Rally Guanajuato México||Sébastien Ogier||Julien Ingrassia||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||2:47:47.6||Report|||
|–||Rally Argentina||Rounds postponed due to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic||Report|||
|–||Rally de Portugal||Report|||
|–||Rally Italia Sardegna||Report|||
|4||Safari Rally Kenya||Report|
|6||Rally New Zealand||Report|
|7||Marmaris Rally of Turkey||Report|
|8||ADAC Rallye Deutschland||Report|
|9||Wales Rally GB||Report|
Points were awarded to the top ten classified finishers in each event. In the manufacturers' championship, teams were eligible to nominate three crews to score points, but these points were only awarded to the top two classified finishers representing a manufacturer and driving a 2017-specification World Rally Car. There were also five bonus points awarded to the winners of the Power Stage, four points for second place, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth. Power Stage points were only awarded in the drivers' and co-drivers' championships.
FIA World Rally Championship for DriversEdit
FIA World Rally Championship for Co-DriversEdit
FIA World Rally Championship for ManufacturersEdit
Only the best two results of each manufacturer at each rally are taken into account for the World Manufacturers’ Championship.
- Tänak and Järveoja won their titles with Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT but left the team to join Hyundai for the 2020 championship.
- The Monte Carlo Rally is run on a tarmac and snow surface.
- The route of Rally Sweden was shortened from 301.26 km over 19 stages to 9 stages totalling 148.55 km. The route was shortened due to a lack of snow and bad weather conditions.
- The route of Rally Mexico was shortened by 56.01 km.
- Rally Chile was cancelled due to political unrest, which caused the season revised.
- Rally Argentina was scheduled to be held between 30 April and 3 May, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Rally de Portugal was scheduled to be held between 21 and 24 May, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Rally Italia Sardegna was scheduled to be held between 4 and 7 June, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Every crew that enters a World Rally Championship event—including World Rally Championship-2, World Rally Championship-3, Junior World Rally Championship and privateer entries—is eligible to score points in the World Championship for Drivers and the World Championship for Co-Drivers.
- The crew of Devidas Jocius and Mindaugas Varža competed with multiple numbers throughout the championship.
- Citroën had previously announced that they would withdraw at the end of the 2021 championship, co-inciding with the planned introduction of hybrid powertrains. The planned withdrawal was attributed to Citroën's existing partnership with Formula E team Techeetah.
- The Power Stage was removed from the Rally Mexico route as a result of the cancellation of the final leg.
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- Evans, David (8 April 2019). "FIA visits Japan and Kenya in next step for WRC returns in 2020". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
- Evans, David (2 July 2019). "Safari Rally could officially return in WRC calendar vote this week". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
- "Safari back in 2020". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 27 September 2019. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- "Three new rounds in 2020 WRC calendar". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 27 September 2019. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- Evans, David (16 December 2019). "Rally Chile replacement call unclear, could be made during 2020 WRC". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- Evans, David (20 December 2019). "Pirelli wins tyre tender to supply WRC top tier and R5s from 2021". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
- "88e Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo Entry List" (PDF). acm.mc. Automobile Club de Monaco. 13 January 2020. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
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- "2019 FIA World Rally Championship Sporting Regulations" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 12 December 2018. p. 22. Archived from the original on 27 July 2019.
- "Neuville signs new Hyundai deal". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
- "Loeb joins Hyundai". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 13 December 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- "Sordo extends Hyundai contract". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 9 October 2019. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- Evans, David (10 December 2019). "Hyundai could run second WRC team for exiles Breen, Mikkelsen". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
- Evans, David (27 January 2020). "Hyundai gives Breen "career lifeline" WRC Rally Sweden outing". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
- Evans, David (20 November 2019). "Citroen ends WRC programme, cites Ogier's exit as reason". motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
- Evans, David (15 November 2019). "Citroen won't be part of World Rally Championship hybrid era in 2022". motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- Evans, David (3 December 2019). "Citroen's WRC cars could be bought or rented after its WRC exit for 2020". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
- "Toyota reveals 2020 line-up". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 27 November 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
- Evans, David (29 November 2019). "Latvala could get five-round 2020 WRC deal in a Toyota Yaris". motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
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- Evans, David; Benyon, Jack (14 January 2020). "Ex-WRC driver Haninen to co-drive for Latvala on 2020 Rally Sweden". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- Evans, David (6 December 2019). "Kris Meeke facing uncertain future after Toyota WRC exit". motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
- Lillo, Sergio; Evans, David (9 January 2020). "Meeke accepts full-time WRC career is over, now exploring options". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
- "Eight drivers, one seat". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 30 November 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
With Hyundai Motorsport and Toyota Gazoo Racing having finalised their line-ups for 2020, the last remaining factory car untaken is the Ford Fiesta next to Teemu Suninen's in M-Sport's workshop.
- Evans, David (2 January 2020). "Citroen WRC exile Lappi joins M-Sport alongside Suninen and Greensmith". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- "Loubet set for World Rally Car début". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
- Benyon, Jack (28 January 2020). "Hyundai expands junior driver programme into WRC". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
- "SS4/5: Evans leads, Tänak crashes". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 24 January 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
- "Neuville fires early warning to Monte rivals". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 24 January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
- "Advantage Evans in Monte-Carlo Thriller". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 25 January 2020. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
- "Neuville seals revenge win in Monte-Carlo". wrc.com. WRC. 26 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
- "Martin celebrates maiden win". wrc.com. WRC. 17 February 2020. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
- "Evans completes Rally Sweden". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 16 February 2020. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
- "How Rovanperä became a WRC record-breaker". wrc.com. WRC. 18 February 2020. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
- Ramirez, Luis (14 March 2020). "WRC Rally Mexico to end early as more travel restrictions loom". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
- "Ogier extends Mexico advantage". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 14 March 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Friday morning: Ogier opens up early lead in Mexico". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 13 March 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Lappi and Ferm escape burning Fiesta". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 14 March 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "Ogier clinches victory in Mexico". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 15 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
- Hansford, Rob (26 January 2020). "Rally Monte Carlo WRC: Neuville wins thrilling season-opener". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
- Brunsdon, Stephen (16 February 2020). "Rally Sweden WRC: Dominant Evans wins on second start for Toyota". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
- Garton, Nick (15 March 2020). "WRC Rally Mexico: Ogier takes maiden Toyota win in truncated rally". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
- "Championship standings 2020". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
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