The FIA European Rally Championship has revealed a planned eight round 2021 calendar – which is set to feature two sets of events back-to-back in an effort to reduce costs.
Beginning in early March, the season will consist of four events on gravel and four on tramac, with an extra three events scheduled as reserves and will be used if any of the orignally planned rallies can’t go ahead due to changes in COVID-19 restrictions.
The opening rounds – the new Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras and the Azores Rallye – will make up the first double header, with rounds four and five – Rally Poland and Rally Liepāja in Latvia – set to follow a similar pattern in June and July in a bid to make travelling costs for teams as low as possible.
Rallye Sanremo in Italy, the Cyprus Rally and the Spa Rally have each been added to the reserve list, and several other calendar tweaks have been made in aid of helping to cut costs.
These include trimming the number of island based events to two – with these events featuring less transportation fees to and from each location – and the aim of the double headers using storage facilities ‘on the way’ to the the next event, rather than teams having to return to their bases around Europe.
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the FIA ERC Co-Ordinator, said on the revised schedule for 2021: “For the ERC success story to continue it’s essential that every effort is made to reduce costs when it’s practical and advantageous to do so.
“The 2021 ERC calendar has been structured with affordability and accessibility in mind. We therefore look forward to the back-to-back event configuration concept helping to reduce the cost of competing.
He went on to add: “We must also recognise the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and we believe the calendar is sensible and realistic.
“However, we will also follow all local restrictions and requirements with safety for all the priority. The inclusion of three ‘spare’ events on the calendar is a sensible course of action in the event that some rallies cannot take place and have to be replaced on the schedule.”
The 2021 FIA European Rally Championship Calendar:
Round 1: Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras – March 12-14
Round 2: 55th Azores Rallye – March 25-27
Round 3: Rally Islas Canarias – May 6-8
Round 4: 77th Rally Poland – June 18-20
Round 5: Rally Liepāja – July 1-3
Round 6: Rally di Roma Capitale – July 23-2
Round 7: 50th Barum Czech Rally Zlín – August 27-29
Round 8: Rally Hungary – October 22-24