The 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship has been of the busiest transfer times in recent years when it comes to team changes.
Many big surprises came this year as Ott Tänak moved to Hyundai, Sébastien Ogier left Citroën for Toyota, Citroën pulled out from the championship and Esapekka Lappi received the last seat with M-Sport.
New for this year is the introduction of WRC3 for private teams as the WRC2 will now only be for factory teams to run their R5 cars in. Manufacturers can also join the championship now with two-teams with a single-car team which will carry a separate identity to help the manufacturers’ to score additional championship points.
The Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli is coming back to the championship to supply the series, they have signed a contract for seasons 2020 to 2024.
“It has been one of the busiest transfer times in recent years. The big surprises, of course, were Ott Tänak moving to Hyundai and Sébastien Ogier replacing him at Toyota.” Ciesla said.
“Along with other moves, such as Elfyn Evans joining Toyota and Esapekka Lappi replacing him at M-Sport Ford, these transfers bring unpredictability and excitement for the new season as drivers settle into their new teams and cars.
WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla spoke of the changes that were made for the season for the teams’ and the new classes.
“Manufacturers can enter the championship with an additional single-car team which carries a separate identity. It’s an opportunity for them to field a fourth car, under a different entrant name, to score points in the manufacturers’ championship.
“Tactically, manufacturers can deploy this extra team to deprive their rivals of vital points. This, of course, also brings the potential for more World Rally Cars on our events.”
“WRC 2 is the primary support category and the principal feeder for competitors targeting the final step to a World Rally Car drive.
“It is for manufacturer-backed teams and teams approved by the FIA and focuses on R5 cars. The newly-introduced WRC 3 is identical, with the exception that it is designed for privateer drivers only.
“And, of course, the Junior WRC, which hosts the stars of the future, stays as the entry-level series. We will provide more media coverage for all the support championships this year to further promote the unique pro-am character of WRC events.”
Aside from the changes to the classes, there will be further challenges for the teams in 2021 when the series switches from using Michelin tyres.
“Pirelli will return to the championship as the exclusive tyre supplier for factory teams from 2021 – 2024. Pirelli hasn’t supplied works cars at the top level since 2010 so this is a great motivator for them.
“Work continues with the FIA, manufacturers and ourselves ahead of the introduction of environmentally-friendly hybrid cars in 2022. There will be more to announce as the season progresses.”