The FIA has revised its dictionary for cross-country rally. On Thursday, the World Motor Sport Council approved a series of vernacular changes that will go into effect in 2024 including renaming the three Cups for Cross-Country Bajas, all five categories in Bajas and the World Rally-Raid Championship, and even basic event types.
The term “Cross-Country Baja”, which refers to a rally that takes place over four days with two for racing and a total Selective Section length of at least 350 kilometres, now has a more simplified name of “Baja”. As a result, the three Baja-focused championships have been respectively dubbed the World Baja Cup, European Baja Cup, and Middle East Baja Cup.
This change is designed to create “more clarity and substance”. Prior to the W2RC, FIA cross-country series had lengthy monikers such as its predecessor World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and the similarly named World, European, and Middle East Cups for Cross-Country Bajas. For comparison, the FIM’s top Baja championship boasts the shorter title of FIM Bajas World Cup. Those in the industry including competitors also colloquially refer to events as a “Baja”.
Much like the aforementioned series rebrand, W2RC rounds have been renamed from “Cross-Country Rally” to “Rally-Raid”. Unlike Bajas, a rally raid is a week-long event with five days of competition and 1,200 km in distance. Longer rallies of two weeks and 2,500 km such as the season-opening Dakar Rally has tweaked their category from “Cross-Country Marathon Rally” to “Marathon Rally-Raid”.
The five classes have also dropped their formula-style numbering system in favour of actual vehicle descriptions. The top-level T1 category for prototype cars has been called “Ultimate”, while their production counterpart in T2 is now “Stock”. The FIA has not revealed names for subcategories like T1+ for upgraded T1 cars, the electric-based T1.U where the “U” stands for Ultimate, or T1.1 and T1.2 for 4×4 and 4×2 vehicles.
The side-by-side classes T3 and T4 are respectively called “Challenger” and “SSV”. The former, originally known as Light Prototypes, is for racing-specific SSVs while the latter are production cars.
T5 is now called “Truck”. The class will not have its own championship in 2024, as is already the case for Stock.
The T originally came from “tout terrain”, the French term for “off-road”.