Established in 1973, the WRC is widely regarded as the most challenging motorsport championship in the world.
The roads on this epic motorsport adventure are spread across countries with 14 rallies on everything from snow packed forest tracks to rock-strewn mountain passes.
How a Rally works
Each rally features a number (typically between 15 and 25) of timed sections - known as stages - run on closed roads.
Drivers battle one at a time to complete these stages as quickly as possible, with timing down to 1/10th second. Along the way, a co-driver reads detailed pace notes that explain what is coming up ahead. Competitors drive to and from each stage on public roads, observing normal traffic regulations.
Most rallies follow the same basic itinerary. This starts with two days of ‘reconnaissance’ where driver and co-driver practise the route, at limited speed, to make pace notes. It is followed by ‘shakedown’ – a full speed test of their rally car – with the competition proper running for three days from Friday to Sunday.
Because rallies go on for several days, competitors visit a ‘service park’ at pre-determined points to allow technicians to perform mechanical work on each car. Service time is strictly limited, with each stop being either 10, 30 or 45 minutes. At the end of each day’s competition, cars are held in a secure parc ferme.
Away from the service park, only the driver and co-driver can work on their car, using only tools and spare parts carried on board.
Cars and categories
WRC is the Championship's headline category and the spectacular new-era World Rally Cars are driven by superstars such as Sebastien Ogier, Thierry Neuville, Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala.
- 1.6-litre, fuel injection, turbocharged, four cylinder engines fitted with a 36mm air intake restrictor
- Power output restricted to 380bhp
- Permanent four-wheel drive, six-speed sequential gearbox with paddle-shift on steering
- Mechanical front and rear differentials. Active centre differential
- Weight: 1190kg minimum. 1350kg with driver and co-driver
- 0-100kph in less than 4sec
- Top speed exceeds 200kph
WRC 2 Pro is aimed at manufacturer-supported entries, with manufacturers able to field one team of up to two crews per event. World titles will be awarded to both the leading manufacturer and the top driver.
Manufacturers must contest a minimum of seven rallies, including one outside Europe. They can count scores from every round, while drivers count their best eight results.
WRC 2 is aimed at independent drivers, those who buy or hire a car from a manufacturer and operate their own team. Their best six scores count towards a drivers’ title.
Penalties and Points
Time penalties are applied if visits to the service park exceed the allotted time. Penalties are also given to competitors who arrive late at stage starts, or any other check-points throughout the event.
The crew that completes all the stages in the shortest time is the winner. Points are allocated to the top ten finishers on a 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 basis. Points are awarded to registered teams in the same way.