Assuming no last-minute changes, the inaugural World Rally-Raid Championship will end with a double-header in October. The Andalucía Rally, which was previously postponed to an unknown date in the fall, has formally received a new date on 18–23 October and will serve as the season finale. In turn, the Rallye du Maroc moves up five days to 1–6 October.
In late May, the Andalucía Rally was moved from its 6–12 June slate as concerns about wildfire risk, especially due to extreme heat, pervaded its Spanish host region. Anticipating temperatures and therefore fire danger to drop by autumn, the new mid-October date was selected.
With Andalucía pushed back three months, the Rallye du Maroc’s calendar also had to be adjusted as the original 6–12 October slot would have given teams less than a week to regroup and prepare for the next round. While Spain and Morocco are separated by just the narrow Strait of Gibraltar, the former’s Dos Hermanas where the Andalucía Rally’s bivouac is headquartered is over a thousand kilometres away from the Rallye du Maroc’s base in Agadir. By adding a week between the two dates, there is more time for teams to transport their vehicles to the next city.
“These changes are not without consequences for all of us, teams, drivers, and organisation,” reads a statement from the Andalucía Rally. “Hoping to see many of you at the return of the Rallye du Maroc. Indeed, the proximity of the dates of Morocco and the Andalucia Rally will allow you to go directly from Agadir to Dos Hermanas with your assistance vehicles.”
The two rallies intertwine as they share the same organiser ODC and serve as the prelude to the W2RC’s flagship Dakar Rally. The latter also includes the pair comprising the “Road to Dakar”: competitors who have never raced at Dakar are eligible to compete in a separate category in Andalucía, and the best performers receive scholarships to enter the Rallye du Maroc or Dakar.
The World Rally-Raid Championship’s 2022 schedule now looks vastly different from the original five-race itinerary announced before the season, with only the first two rounds—the Dakar Rally in January and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in March—not having been impacted at all. Rally Kazakhstan was due to race in April before fallout from neighbouring Ukraine being invaded by Kazakh ally Russia resulted in its cancellation.