Chile has made the cut to join the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship calendar as WMSC ruling confirms changes in the WRC2 class.
The FIA published the ruling taken in the World Motor Sport Council which confirmed a 14-rally calendar for the 2019 season, which includes Chile as its newest venue with Italy also remaining but Japan missing out.
It retains all the 13 rallies from the 2018 season as the calendar expands to 14 rallies with Chile for the first time since the 2008 season. The season starts With Rally Monte Carlo on January 27 and ends on November 17 with Rally Australia.
The new Rally Chile slots in the first half of the calendar on May 12. The dates for four rallies are marked as ‘to be confirmed’ which includes Rally Germany on October 25, Rally Great Britain on October 6, Rally Spain on October 27 and Rally Australia.
Rally Monte Carlo – January 27
Rally Sweden – February 17
Rally Mexico – March 10
Rally France – March 31
Rally Argentina – April 28
Rally Chile – May 12
Rally Portugal – June 2
Rally Italy – June 16
Rally Finland – August 4
Rally Germany – August 25
Rally Turkey – September 15
Rally Great Britain – October 6
Rally Spain – October 27
Rally Australia – November 17
Aside the calendar, the WMSC confirmed changes to the rules for the main as well as the secondary category where the test days will be reduced to 42 days with the total distance of special stages reduced to a maximum of 350 km.
The WRC2 class will see a new category WRC2 Pro made where only the manufacturers will compete while the regular WRC2 category will feature privateers. The council has also disbanded WRC3 with Junior championship remaining.
In order to give consistent identity to drivers and assist with promotion, Priority 1 drivers will be free to choose their permanent car number from 2019, except number 1, which will always be reserved for the reigning World Rally Champion.* Date subject to confirmation
As part of an overall cost reduction plan aimed at removing or reducing the cost of elements that do not add to the spectacle of the Championship, the number of test days will be reduced from 55 to 42 for WRC Manufacturer teams. The total distance of special stages has been reduced from a maximum of 500 to a maximum of 350 kilometres.
From 2019, the support championships will be restructured to help increase the number of entrants in Manufacturer Championships, to boost the number of factory supported drivers and cars, and further encourage private competitors to the WRC 2 and Junior WRC Championships. Building on the success of the R5 car, a new WRC 2 Pro Championship for Drivers, Co-Drivers and Manufacturers will be created as a platform for registered R5 manufacturers.
The same specification R5 car will continue to be used in the FIA WRC 2 Championship. This championship will be solely for private entrants, with the intention being to attract more drivers from national and regional championships.
In order to continue supporting the progression of young talent in the sport, the format of the Junior WRC Championship will remain unchanged. The WRC 3 Championship will cease from 2019 although competitors in two-wheel drive cars are still eligible to enter events.
The Championships will therefore be as follows:
FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers, Co-drivers and Manufacturers
FIA WRC 2 Pro Championship for Drivers, Co-drivers and Manufacturers
FIA WRC 2 Championship for Drivers and Co-drivers
FIA Junior WRC Championship for Drivers, Co-drivers and Nations