Rally Turkey will return to the World Rally Championship for the first time in eight years, following confirmation of the event’s place in the 2018 calendar by the World Motor Sport Council.
Marmaris Rally Turkey will run as a WRC candidate event later this year and will replace the outgoing Rally Poland, which was beset by safety problems including errant spectators and a fire truck entering a live stage towards oncoming competitors.
Rather than replacing Poland’s previous slot at the end of June, Rally Turkey will slot into the current five week gap in September, on the condition the candidate event next month runs smoothly.
“Turkey is a hugely important automotive market, in terms of sales and manufacturing,” explained Oliver Ciesla, managing director of WRC Promoter. “Record sales of almost a million vehicles were recorded in 2016 and the sporting reasons for its reintroduction are matched by a compelling business rationale.”
The Eurasian nation is the home of manufacturing plants for three of the four marques currently present in the championship – Ford, Hyundai and Toyota – which Ciesla indicated was a decisive factor in pushing for a return to Turkey.
“We offer manufacturers the opportunity to showcase their products in a championship focused on production-based cars, and I’m delighted Turkey’s return was unanimously supported by our participating manufacturers.”
Another calendar change has arisen from Wales Rally GB running as a championship event for both the WRC and the British Rally Championship. Its date has moved three weeks earlier to the beginning of October, helping to accommodate for the BRC’s tighter schedule.
Rally Spain will head in the opposite direction to compensate for the change, being pushed back to the final week in October and becoming the final leg of the European season before the grand finale in Australia in November.
Minor scheduling changes have been applied to the opening pair of rallies, Monte Carlo and Sweden, with both set to run a week later in 2018 to allow for a longer winter break.
2018 World Rally Championship calendar
- Rally Monte Carlo – 25-28 January
- Rally Sweden – 15-18 February
- Rally Mexico – 8-11 March
- Tour de Corse – 5-8 April
- Rally Argentina – 26-29 April
- Rally Portugal – 17-20 May
- Rally Italy – 7-10 June
- Rally Finland – 26-29 July
- Rally Germany – 16-19 August
- Rally Turkey – 13-16 September
- Rally Great Britain – 4-7 October
- Rally Spain – 25-28 October
- Rally Australia– 15-18 November