Confirmation of 2019 FIA World Rally Championship calendar
Increasingly global schedule features five rounds outside Europe
Chile is an exciting addition to an enlarged 2019 FIA World Rally Championship calendar announced in Paris on Friday.
The 14-round calendar retains all 13 rallies from 2018 and gives an increasingly global look to the world’s most prestigious motorsport series for production-based cars, with five events outside Europe.
Chile becomes the 32nd country to host the WRC since the championship was launched in 1973. Event representatives celebrated its inclusion as live news transmissions were broadcast to the country from the French capital.
The gravel fixture is based in Concepción on 9 - 12 May and forms the second half of a spectacular double-header with Argentina, adding to south America’s burgeoning portfolio of world-class motorsport.
The calendar is the largest since 2008 and was approved by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.
WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla welcomed Chile to the championship, its promotion following the return of Turkey to the 2018 series after an eight-year absence.
“We pursue a strategy to further globalise the championship by incorporating more events outside Europe. Turkey successfully brought a WRC footprint back to the Asian continent and Chile will prove an equally worthy addition to the 2019 calendar,” he said.
With an eye to the future, candidate events are scheduled in Japan and Kenya to gauge the readiness of both countries for a calendar place.
“This year’s candidate rally in Chile achieved a very high level. The colour, passion and intensity of back-to-back rallies in Latin America, a region whose booming motorsport imprint provides great potential to further increase fan interest, will generate further impetus to the WRC.
“We’re currently experiencing a surging demand from countries worldwide to join the WRC, which is a clear indication of its increasing popularity. We want to continue to develop the series over the next years and explore important new markets,” added Ciesla.
As is traditional, the 2019 championship opens on the ice-covered Alpine roads of Rallye Monte-Carlo on 24 - 27 January. It again closes on the gravel tracks of Rally Australia on 14 - 17 November, the event where 2018’s title fight is likely to come to a thrilling conclusion next month.
There are several minor date changes in the middle section of the calendar to accommodate the addition of Chile, including later slots for Portugal and Italy. The full calendar is (* = date subject to confirmation):
1 Monte-Carlo 24 - 27 January
2 Sweden 14 - 17 February
3 Mexico 7 - 10 March
4 France 28 - 31 March
5 Argentina 25 - 28 April
6 Chile 9 - 12 May
7 Portugal 30 May - 2 June
8 Italy13 - 16 June
9 Finland 1 - 4 August
10 Germany* 22 - 25 August
11 Turkey 12 - 15 September
12 Great Britain* 3 - 6 October
13 Spain* 24 - 27 October
14 Australia* 14 - 17 November