Formula 1
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
40 days
MotoGP
28 Mar
FP1 in
17 days
R
Doha GP
02 Apr
Next event in
24 days
Formula E
R
Rome ePrix
10 Apr
Next event in
32 days
NASCAR Cup
07 Mar
Event finished
R
Phoenix
14 Mar
Race in
6 days
IndyCar
R
Birmingham
16 Apr
Next event in
38 days
23 Apr
Next event in
45 days
WEC
R
Spa-Francorchamps
01 May
Race in
53 days
13 Jun
Race in
96 days
Supercars
27 Feb
Event finished
R
Sandown
18 Mar
Next event in
9 days

FIA confident Monte Carlo WRC opener can go ahead

FIA Rally Director Yves Matton is “quite confident” that the opening round of the 2021 WRC season will go ahead despite many European countries still being under the grip of coronavirus.

FIA confident Monte Carlo WRC opener can go ahead

Rally Monte Carlo is scheduled to kick off the series on January 21-24, although, at 174 competitive miles (280km), next year’s instalment will be the shortest in its history.

Under strict COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the French government the organising Automobile Club de Monaco has decided to shelve a proposed Thursday morning shakedown stage for crews and, in a surprise move, dropped the ‘St Apollinaire – Embrun’ stage from Saturday’s itinerary altogether.

The complexities facing Matton and Jona Siebel – who replaced Oliver Ciesla as the WRC Promoter managing director during the summer – were brought sharply into focus last week with the confirmation that Rally Sweden would not be taking place in February due to increased restrictions around coronavirus. 

“There are no guarantees [because of COVID],” said former Citroen team boss Matton, “but at the moment we can be quite confident Rally Monte Carlo will happen.

"Of course, there will be constraints and changes, but if we can achieve an event like this, then we can achieve more and more events during the year ahead, although it is obviously disappointing that Rally Sweden won’t be able to take place.

“We have taken into account the different constraints with no event overseas before the second part of the year, reducing the number of events in the interests of the current situation facing the manufacturers and because they are developing new cars for 2022."

At last week’s FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting, members passed a recommendation to only hand out teams’, drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles if at least half of the 12 rounds that make up the 2021 WRC calendar go ahead. 

To ensure this happens, six rallies have been named in a reserve list of contingency events for next year, including Rally Monza. It staged the final round of 2020 and was well received by teams and competitors despite three of the four days being based within the confines of the famous circuit in the north of Italy.

Matton believes the Monza blueprint, which was endorsed by seven-time champion Sebastien Ogier in the wake of this month's inaugural running, is a good one.

“They did great work to deliver an event that was really interesting with a mixture of stages on a track with more traditional stages in the mountains," he said. "Some people criticised that rallying on a track is not part of the DNA of rallying – but the event provided a true challenge. 

“If, in the future, we have to organise rallies in another way, we now know what is possible without losing the DNA of the sport.

"I am fully in favour of diversity and not to have events that are similar. It makes sense to have one or two events in the championship that were like Rally Monza.” 

shares
comments

Related video

Latvala appointed Toyota WRC team boss

Previous article

Latvala appointed Toyota WRC team boss

Next article

The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season

The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Event Rally Monte Carlo
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Prime

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Prime

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener.

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Prime

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021
The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020

A drastically-shortened 2020 season gave the World Rally Championship protagonists precious little stage mileage to strut their stuff, but as ever the cream rose to the top across the seven events. We rank the year's best performers

WRC
Jan 4, 2021
The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season Prime

The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season

The 2020 World Rally Championship bestrode all 12 months of the Gregorian calendar, and in terms of the competition it was a cracker. Moreover, it was an inspiration in dark days for the world and our industry.

WRC
Jan 1, 2021
The early setbacks that shaped the WRC's greatest driver Loeb Prime

The early setbacks that shaped the WRC's greatest driver Loeb

A series of close calls in his formative years threatened to leave rallying's top echelon tantalisingly out of reach for the man who would go on to claim nine WRC titles. In an exclusive interview, Sebastien Loeb recalls the key steps on his road to dominance.

WRC
Dec 11, 2020
Why the WRC's unorthodox Monza ending was a necessary one Prime

Why the WRC's unorthodox Monza ending was a necessary one

The Monza Rally was an unusual way to end an unusual WRC season, and while far from ideal, without it the series could have faced serious ramifications. To persuade stakeholders to commit to an uncertain future, Monza was an important showcase…

WRC
Dec 9, 2020