The 2020 FIA World Rally Championship will return following the COVID-19 pandemic with Rally Estonia between September 4-6.
Estonia joins the series for the first time after hosting a promotional rally last year and will get the fourth of at least eight events in 2020 underway with a two-day schedule based in Tartu.
The news means several changes for the calendar and the schedule could still be yet added to as the promoters of the WRC remain in talks with the organisers of both the Ypres Rally in Belgium and the Automobile and Karting Federation of Croatia.
After getting the second part of the season underway, the crews then head to Turkey three weeks later (24-27 September), which along with Germany (15-18 October) keep their original dates but become the fifth and sixth rounds respectively.
The revised schedule then heads to Rally Italia Sardgena, which was originally planned for July before the COVID-19 crisis. The rescheduled event now is set to take place between October 29-November 1.
The so far confirmed eighth and final round of the new calendar is Rally Japan between November 19-22, with the returning event still set to go ahead on the same date as originally planned.
Unfortunately Rally Argentina, also postponed due to the pandemic, has had to be cancelled altogether for 2020 after being unable to be rescheduled.
Managing Director of the WRC Promoter Oliver Ciesla said on the return of the WRC: “Today’s restart announcement sends a clear signal that the 2020 WRC is back in business.”
“The WRC Promoter has worked tirelessly with the FIA, our competitors, teams and potential rallies, in exceptional circumstances, to revise the calendar. Today’s news allows the WRC to restart at an appropriate time and ensure a season worthy of world championship status.”
While FIA Rally Director Yves Matton added: “I am pleased to announce the 2020 WRC restart calendar following a few months of discussions that have required a great deal of flexibility from all stakeholders in unprecedented times.”
“In light of this revised schedule, 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.”
Matton on went on to praise the each of the series’ events for coming to an agreement with the championship: “As one of the newly proposed rounds, Rally Estonia will be reopening the season in September and I know the Estonian Autosport Union and organising team are putting all their efforts to deliver an event to world championship standards from an already solid foundation.”
“Also, extensive work was made with ACI and organisers of Rally Italia Sardegna to reschedule the event and I am happy that they could find a workable slot at the end of October for this much-awaited encounter.”
“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 but we are naturally truly disappointed we couldn’t find a logistically viable solution to reschedule Rally Argentina, particularly given all the hard work undertaken by Automóvil Club Argentino and every member of the organisation.”
After the opening three rounds of the season, Sebastien Ogier leads the Drivers Standings ahead of Toyota teammate Elfyn Evans.
The revised 2020 FIA World Rally Championship calendar:
|1||Rallye Monte Carlo||23-26 January|
|2||Rally Sweden||13-16 Feburary|
|3||Rally Mexico||12-15 March|
|4||Rally Estonia||4-6 September|
|5||Rally Turkey||24-27 September|
|6||Rally Germany||15-18 October|
|7||Rally Italia Sardegna||29 October – November 1|
|8||Rally Japan||19-22 November|