The 2023 World Rally Championship calendar has finally been announced, and it’s a bold one. Thirteen rounds featuring returns to both Central and South America and a single rally that spans three different countries.
Updated: Friday 25th November at 13:35. Until now we only knew that Monte Carlo, Sweden, Croatia, Mexico, Kenya and Finland had contracts for the 2023 season, but now we have the full list which includes visits to Austria and the Czech Republic.
American rounds, which disappeared from the calendar when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, return in the form of Mexico and Chile and the major innovation is the “Central European” Rally, which will span Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany.
The new rally will be based in the south-east German city of Passau. Passau is not far from the borders of either the Czech Republic or Austria. Rather than adding a new European rally this will be an almost direct replacement for Rally Spain.
Also off the calendar in 2023 is Rally Ypres, which had filled a space during the pandemic-altered seasons, and Rally New Zealand, which returned after a ten-year absence in 2022.
The season starts, as you would always expect, with the Monte Carlo Rally in early January, with Sweden’s traditional second round fitting the following month. Despite moves to bring motorsport calendars back into a more sensible order, the WRC circus will then fly to America for a single round in Mexico in March before returning to Europe for Rally Croatia in April.
The Portuguese round takes place in May before Rally Sardegna represents Italy in June. A second rally in June will see the third revived Safari rally in a row before a three-leg European trip takes in Estonia, Finland and Greece through July, August and September.
South America’s WRC return in Chile happens in late September before the new Central Europe round in late October and then the season finishes for the second time running in Japan.
The WRC had been working on rounds in the Middle East and in North America, but it appears that these are off the table for now. There is also no sign of a return for Rally GB.