World Rally Championship

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World Rally Championship
Current season World Rally Championship 2020
Fia wrc logo.svg
Vehicle type World Rally Car
Country or region World Championship
Current name World Rally Championship (WRC)
First season 1973
Official website

The World Rally Championship (official FIA World Rally Championship , in short WRC ) is an umbrella organization of automotive International Fédération de l'Automobile (FIA) organized rally series, which will be held in accordance with established rules, policies and conditions. The World Rally Championship is the top-tier rally series organized by the FIA. It is known as the premier class of rallying because it claims to make the highest technical, driving and financial demands of all rally series on drivers and designers.

The World Cup

Today's rally sport, the beginnings of which are generally dated to the first staging of the Monte Carlo Rally in 1911, developed through the European rally championship for drivers , which in the 1960s became the International Championship of Brands (officially International Championship for Manufacturers, IMC for short ) Added to this was. These racing series, already organized by the FIA, were combined to form the World Rally Championship from 1973 onwards. The World Rally Championship consists of 14 individual races. The individual race results are evaluated using a point system.

Drivers world championship

Since the rally world championship in 1979 , the official driver's world championship title has been awarded to the driver who achieves the highest number of points in the sum of all rated races at the end of the season. A world title is awarded to the most successful co-driver according to the same scheme.

If a driver from a lower class (WRC2, WRC3, JWRC) places himself in the top ten of the overall standings in a rally, he will receive world championship points for the top class WRC and will be included in the world championship classification.

Manufacturers World Championship

In addition to the driver's world champion and co- driver's world champion , a team is also recognized as a world champion manufacturer. This rating is calculated for each race by adding up the points scored by the respective drivers. As a rule, a team with two vehicles takes part in the World Rally Championship. A team can also start with more than two vehicles. However, the points for the manufacturer's classification will only be awarded to the previously registered (maximum two) works cars. Private drivers included in the rating or vehicles from a manufacturer that have not been registered are simply skipped. It may well happen that a participant who arrives at the finish in 13th place overall does not receive any counters as a driver, but receives manufacturer points for his brand. The bonus points of the power stage are not counted towards the manufacturers' world championship. There is always the full number of points corresponding to the placement in each rally. This also applies if the event had to be drastically shortened or canceled.


A Hyundai i20 WRC at Rally Sweden 2014 on snow

Venue and duration

A rally lasts between three and four days, usually Thursday to Sunday or Friday to Sunday. The World Rally Championship drove in South America and Europe in 2019 , the Australian Rally had to be canceled. For 2020 the calendar will be adapted to the events of the Covid-19 pandemic. In previous years, World Championship races were also held in North America, Africa and Asia. The rally bears the name of the host country, a city or a region such as Rally Finland , Rally Monte Carlo or Rally Catalonia .

Special stages

Each of the 13 rallies in 2019 was divided into different special stages (usually between 14 and 25) which are held on closed roads. The drivers are fighting to finish the special stage as quickly as possible, their times being set to within a tenth of a second. It is driven on gravel and asphalt roads, which can change depending on the weather. At the Rally Sweden or the Rally Monte Carlo it can also be snow-covered sections, as these events take place in January and February. Whoever drives the fastest in the special stages leads the overall classification, not the driver who wins the most special stages. At the end of a rally, which usually ends with the power stage, the individual times of the special stages and any time penalties are added up. The total distance of the timed special stages must be at least 300 kilometers. No minimum or maximum route length is prescribed for a single special stage. Each special stage (even just a section of it) may be included in the ranking a maximum of twice per rally. The "spectator tests" are an exception to this; These special stages, known as Super Special Stages and Power Stages , are designed to be as audience and camera-friendly as possible. They often take place in stadiums or other clearly arranged places and are broadcast live on TV. Normally, two, three or four special stages are driven to form a "loop" which ends in the service park or leads to a so-called remote service, where repairs can be made.

Connecting routes

The sections from special stage to special stage and from and to the service park are called connecting routes. These routes are not rated, but must be completed within a certain time window. Premature arrival or delays are subject to time penalties, which are added to the times driven in the special stages. Since these connecting routes are driven on public roads, all racing cars taking part in the World Rally Championship must be approved for road traffic. On the connecting routes, the pilots must observe the traffic rules and carry valid IDs.

Starting places

Since the 2014 season, the qualifying for gravel rallies on the day before the rally has been omitted. Instead, the start is on both asphalt and gravel according to the current intermediate result in the drivers' standings. On the second and third day of the rally, the drivers start the race in reverse order of the intermediate result of the respective rally. The WRC usually starts at two minutes. The rest of the field ( WRC2 / WRC3 / JWRC ) often starts every minute afterwards. Vehicles that start again under rally 2 regulations after a retirement the day before will start first.

Rally 2 regulations

Vehicles that retire on one or more days of the rally due to a technical defect or accident, but can be repaired, may start again the next day with a time penalty of at least ten minutes. You are still entitled to get world championship points. Furthermore, drivers who start under the Rally 2 regulations are entitled to collect World Championship points in the Power Stage. The drivers starting under the Rally 2 regulations no longer have to be the last in the upcoming special stages, but as the first vehicles.

Points system and power stage

The point system for the first 10 riders is 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1. The awarding of points for the five fastest drivers on the power stage is 5-4-3-2-1 bonus points. The power stage is a special stage usually at the end of the rally and is only driven once.

Manufacturers can add up their drivers' points. The two drivers who were previously nominated by their team can score points for the manufacturers' championship. If a pilot who has not been nominated for manufacturer points ranks in the points, he will receive driver points, but for the manufacturer's ranking the nominated pilot who was best placed behind moves up.

Course of a rally weekend

The service park at Rally Finland 2013

Starting two to three days before the competition, the rally drivers inspect the special stages and give their co-drivers information for their notes, especially about all the bends and special features of the individual route sections. These inspections are carried out in largely standard vehicles and each special stage may be viewed a maximum of twice. During the special stages, the co-driver reads these notes from the prayer book to the driver . Since the route is usually still open to public traffic at this point in time, the applicable traffic regulations must be observed.

During the shakedown , the teams and drivers have the opportunity to test the cars on an area that is similar to the special stages before the rally begins. Participants must drive the shakedown route at least four times, with all passes being timed but not counting towards the overall ranking. The service park is a marked area. There are typically three service periods during a WRC day (15 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes at noon and 45 minutes in the evening). During this time, the teams can carry out repairs, change settings and choose their tires for the upcoming special stages. Outside the service park, only the driver and front passenger are allowed to work on the car. They are only allowed to use tools and spare parts that they have with them.



These technical rules (RC1) must be met by the vehicles in 2020:

Possible entries with the FIA for the World Rally Championship are: WRC works teams and private teams registered for manufacturer points as well as works teams and private teams registered for non-manufacturer points. For the Manufacturers' World Championship, a manufacturer or team must field two WRC cars and take part in all World Championship races. There are private teams that start with just one car and can therefore collect world championship points for the drivers’s championship, but do not appear in the manufacturer’s ranking.


These technical rules (RC2) must be met by the vehicles in 2020:

  • 1.6 liter turbo engines (4 cylinders)
  • The cylinder block and head correspond to those of the street version
  • 32 mm air passage restriction
  • Sequential transmission (5 gears)
  • all wheel drive
  • 7x15 "tire set (gravel), 8x18 inch tire set (asphalt)
  • Disc brakes with a diameter of 300 mm (gravel), 355 mm (asphalt)
  • Minimum weight 1390 kg (including spare wheel, driver and front passenger)


The WRC3 category includes vehicles that correspond to exactly the same technical standard as those of WRC 2, but are only intended for private drivers. There are titles for drivers and co-drivers, the best six results from at least seven rallies are added together. There is no obligation to compete in a rally outside of Europe.


These technical rules (RC4) must be met by the vehicles in 2020:

  • The cars have front-wheel drive
  • A 1.0 liter engine with 3 cylinders and around 200 hp
  • An electronic, sequential six-speed gearbox with shift paddles on the steering wheel is used
  • 6x15 "tire set (gravel), 6.5x16 inch tire set (asphalt)
  • Disc brakes with a diameter of 285 mm (gravel), 310 mm (asphalt)
  • The minimum weight excluding the driver is 1030 kg

The classes until 2014

Since the 2011 World Championship season , the class names have changed fundamentally. While the "WRC class" was still called the A8 in 2010, it will be called the A1 from 2011 onwards. The former P-WRC (N4) is now a PWRC (A3). The Super 2000 vehicles, formerly known as S-WRC (also N4), now start as SWRC (A2). So it runs through the entire starting field.

In general, only models of passenger cars produced in large numbers are allowed to take part in the World Rally Championship. This means that every registered rally vehicle must be based on a commercial street car. The differences in the permitted modifications differ from class to class and can be seen in the FIA ​​homologation sheet.

Of course, interest in the WRC is at the center of the action at a rally. But not only the WRC crews registered for the world championship points start; there are definitely several world championships and classes in which a world championship rally is all about victories and points. The racing cars authorized to start are divided into eleven different classes depending on the type and engine. The five most important, because most competitive classes with their own championship are:

  • Class A0 (WRC): World Rally Cars take part in all World Rally Championship races. They are the only vehicles with a realistic chance of winning the World Rally Championship. Since the far-reaching change in the regulations in 2011 , the four-wheel drive World Rally Cars have been based on Super 2000 vehicles, which are, however, equipped with 1600 cc 16V engines with turbocharging and direct fuel injection. In addition, WRC vehicles have a "WRC upgrade kit", which consists of special front and rear spoilers. In the 2011 season , fourteen teams started with the following WRCs: Citroën DS3 WRC , Ford Fiesta RS WRC , Mini WRC .
  • Class A1: Since the homologation of the Mini Countryman S2000 during the 2011 season , which is equipped with 1600 cm³ gasoline engines with direct injection and turbocharging, the conventional 2-liter Super 2000 vehicles have been designated as Class A2. The vehicles of the S-2000 regulations equipped with 1600 cc turbo engines are designated as class A1 and the WRC vehicles as class A0 or class WRC.
  • Class A2 (SWRC): Vehicles in this class are also entitled to take part in all World Championship races. The racing cars based on the Super 2000 regulations adapted for rallies have all-wheel drive and a 2000 cm³ naturally aspirated engine . This class, also used in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge , is the most competitive class in the World Rally Championship after the WRCs.
  • Class A3 (PWRC): These vehicles based on the Group N regulations are vehicles with a max. 2000 cc four-cylinder engines, turbocharging, all-wheel drive and various racing cars equipped as standard with technical and electronic driving aids. Due to the regulations of this class based on close proximity to series production, apart from e.g. B. Safety equipment and shock absorbers / springs, hardly any changes are made to the vehicle. With almost 300 HP and over 300 Nm, they are inferior to classes A1 and A2 mainly due to the higher vehicle weight. The only PWRC cars that have been used successfully for years are the Mitsubishi Lancer , its Malaysian licensed “twin” Proton Pert and the Subaru Impreza WRX STi . Vehicles of this class can also be found at all World Championship races. The Production Car World Rally Championship was limited to seven rallies in 2011.
  • Class A6 JWRC Junior World Rally Championship : The JWRC, also known as the "WRC Academy" since 2011, is a junior competition within the framework of the World Rally Championship. The drivers must not have reached the age of 30 as of January 1st of the current season. This class starts with Super 1600 vehicles. Equipped with front-wheel drive, a maximum of 1640 cm³ displacement, 4-cylinder naturally aspirated engines and around 230 HP, models of the small car class are used as vehicles in order to enable a relatively inexpensive entry into international rally events.


Rally version of a Renault Alpine A110

In the 1960s, the FIA held a second championship for brands in addition to the European rally championship for drivers . For 1970 the Safari Rally was added to the calendar. Due to the now existing run outside Europe, the name of the championship was changed to International Rally Championship for Brands . Other international rallies, such as the Morocco Rally, were added as early as 1971. From the 1973 season , the championship was officially held as the World Rally Championship. The first world championship run was the 42ème Rallye Automobile de Monte Carlo , which started on January 19th and was won by Frenchman Jean-Claude Andruet . The first rally world title in history was won by an Alpine Renault A110 1800 after thirteen races . After a drivers 'cup was held as part of the World Rally Championship in the 1977 and 1978 seasons , there has been an official World Rally Championship for drivers in addition to the constructors' championship since the 1979 season .

1973–1981: The first years

After Alpine Renault had won the world title in 1973, the Lancia Stratos HF appeared at the 1974 World Rally Championship . This racing car, specially designed for rallying and equipped with a Ferrari V6 engine, was able to secure the world championship title three years in a row in 1974 , 1975 and 1976 . The following year, 1977 , the FIA Cup for Rally Drivers was held for the first time, parallel to the World Rally Championship for Brands . This competition, which only takes place twice, was won by the Italian Sandro Munari in 1977 , and in the 1978 season the Finn Markku Alén was the winner of this cup. From the 1979 World Rally Championship onwards , a brand and a driver title were awarded. The first official world champion in rallying was the Swede Björn Waldegård in 1979 .

1982-1986: Group B era

A time in rallying that is still as popular today as it is controversial began in 1982. When the FIA ​​changed the division of their racing classes, vehicles in Group B were also allowed. The only five-year phase of all-wheel-drive racing cars, some of which were equipped with turbocharging and various aerodynamic aids, and exclusively designed for rallying began. These high-performance prototypes, which are extremely spectacular due to the barely limiting regulations, quickly made the World Rally Championship well-known. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h in under 2.6 seconds on gravel is a performance figure that is still often quoted in motorsport circles. Triggered by the use of all-wheel drive in the Audi quattro and its further development, the Audi quattro A2 , a kind of arms race began in the World Rally Championship. Previously, mainly two-wheel-drive series road cars had been upgraded to powerful rally vehicles, but now pure all-wheel racing machines have been developed and homologated for Group B of the FIA . For this, at least 200 copies of the relevant model had to be produced and presented to the FIA. The majority of these small-series vehicles were then sold to enthusiasts for road use or to car collectors, and the factory teams then created extreme rally equipment from only about ten percent of the production. Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 E2, Ford RS 200 and Lancia Delta S4 were the main representatives of the turbo mid-engine group, while the Audi Sport quattro S1 had a turbo front engine and the MG Metro 6R4 a naturally aspirated mid-engine. Their output was somewhere between 300 and 440 kW (approx. 400 and 600 hp). Only a few world-class pilots could really tame these downright "all-wheel drive monsters" and move them to the limit.

Lancia Delta S4 of Group B

After several serious and in some cases fatal accidents, the FIA ​​pulled the emergency brake in 1986 and banned the high-flyers from the World Rally Championship forever. At that time, unfortunately, a large part of the audience was acting more like the bull run in Pamplona than at a motorsport event. The 1986 Rally Portugal , for example, resulted in two accidents resulting in three deaths and 34, some seriously injured, among the spectators. The more serious accident was triggered on the first special stage by a Group B vehicle, a Ford RS 200 . But also the second accident at the same event, this "only" claimed a broken leg of a photographer, caused by a Peugeot 205 T16 of Group B, prompted the FIA ​​to take far-reaching action. From this season on, more importance was attached to the more responsible behavior of the audience. For the first time, it was not unusual to break off a special stage if the crowd did not want to leave the run-off zones or even the track itself.

From 1987 up to and including 1992, a good two dozen of these ultimate Group B racers, some of them even further enhanced to over 480 kW / 650 hp, found their last international field of activity in the European Rallycross Championship. Nowadays, most Group B cars are in collectors' garages and in racing museums. Only now and then you can see some of them in action, especially in various hillclimb , rally cross racing in Britain and Ireland or even in the so-called classic cars -Rallyes .

A planned successor class, the Group S , did not materialize, so that from 1987 the Group A class provided the fastest cars in the World Cup.

1986-1997: Group A Era

Since Lancia , with the help of Abarth, reacted most quickly to the changes in the regulations, the Lancia Delta HF 4WD Integrale Group A car with around 220 kW / 299 hp was able to win the constructors' world championship six years in a row. Both Juha Kankkunen and Miki Biasion were able to secure two drivers' world titles each. Then the time of the Japanese manufacturers began. Toyota , Subaru and Mitsubishi became the new title contenders. The Spaniard Carlos Sainz , who drove a Toyota Celica GT-Four for Toyota Team Europe , won the title in 1990 and 1992 . Kankkunen switched to Toyota in the 1993 season and achieved a new driver’s world championship record with his fourth title, and in the same year Toyota won its first brand’s world championship title. This success was repeated in 1994 with the Frenchman Didier Auriol . Subaru and Mitsubishi soon followed suit with further Japanese successes in this series. Colin McRae won the driver's title with a Subaru Impreza in 1995 , and from then on Subaru managed to win the constructors' title three times in a row, while Tommi Mäkinen managed to win the driver's world championship title four times in a row from 1996 to with a Mitsubishi Lancer 1999 win. Mitsubishi also succeeded in winning the design engineer world title in 1998 .

From 1998: The WRC era

During the smooth transition from Group A to WRC, Mitsubishi and Toyota, which, unlike Peugeot, took part in all world championship races, were able to win the drivers 'and manufacturers' world titles again. From 1999 the era of the two French manufacturers Peugeot and Citroën, which are united in the PSA Group , began. From 2000 to 2002 Peugeot was able to win the manufacturers' world championship title three times in a row. The Peugeot driver Marcus Grönholm was also able to secure the drivers' world title in 2000 and 2002 . Interrupted in 2001 by then Subaru driver Richard Burns . While Peugeot withdrew from the World Rally Championship, Citroën took over the race for the Manufacturers World Championship. From the 2003 season to the 2012 season , Citroën won the constructors' championship seven times. After 2003 the then-starting with a Subaru Petter Solberg World Rally Championship for drivers had won, the new world champion with nine consecutive World Rally Championship titles from 2004 to 2012 the Citroën driver was Sébastien Loeb . With 62 rally victories at the end of the 2010 season, he had more than twice as many victories as the second most successful rally driver of all time and then world champion on Peugeot, Marcus Grönholm. Volkswagen Motorsport has been using the Polo WRC very successfully since 2013 with Sébastien Ogier (France), Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) and Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) as drivers. Sébastien Ogier has clinched all four drivers' world championship titles since Volkswagen entered the WRC. VW Motorsport was also able to win all of the brands' titles from 2013 to 2016.

World Champion

Driver world champion

World title driver Year (s)
9 FranceFrance Sébastien Loeb 2004–2012
6th FranceFrance Sébastien Ogier 2013-2018
4th FinlandFinland Juha Kankkunen 1986, 1987, 1991, 1993
FinlandFinland Tommi Mäkinen 1996-1999
2 GermanyGermany Walter Röhrl 1980, 1982
ItalyItaly Miki biasion 1988, 1989
SpainSpain Carlos Sainz 1990, 1992
FinlandFinland Marcus Grönholm 2000, 2002
SwedenSweden Björn Waldegård 1979
FinlandFinland Ari Vatanen 1981
FinlandFinland Hannu Mikkola 1983
SwedenSweden Stig Blomqvist 1984
FinlandFinland Timo Salonen 1985
FranceFrance Didier Auriol 1994
United KingdomUnited Kingdom Colin McRae 1995
United KingdomUnited Kingdom Richard Burns 2001
NorwayNorway Petter Solberg 2003
EstoniaEstonia Ott Tanak 2019

Manufacturer world champion

World title constructor Year (s)
10 ItalyItaly Lancia 1974-1976, 1983, 1987-1992
8th FranceFrance Citroën 2003-2005, 2008-2012
5 FranceFrance Peugeot 1985, 1986, 2000-2002
4th GermanyGermany Volkswagen 2013-2016
United StatesUnited States ford 1979, 2006, 2007, 2017
JapanJapan Toyota 1993, 1994, 1999, 2018
3 ItalyItaly Fiat 1977, 1978, 1980
JapanJapan Subaru 1995-1997
2 GermanyGermany Audi 1982, 1984
1 FranceFrance Alpine 1973
FranceFrance Talbot 1981
JapanJapan Mitsubishi 1998

Evolution of the calendar

Rally / year 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14th 15th 16 17th 18th 19th 20th Dead.
MonacoMonaco Rally Monte Carlo 43
SwedenSweden Rally Sweden 44
PortugalPortugal Rally Portugal 41
KenyaKenya Rally safari 31
GreeceGreece Acropolis Rally 38
FinlandFinland Rally Finland 47
ItalyItaly Rally Sanremo 30th
ItalyItaly Rally Sardinia 16
United KingdomUnited Kingdom Rally Great Britain 47
FranceFrance Tour de Corse 40
FranceFrance Rallye d'Alsace 4th
MoroccoMorocco Rally Morocco 3
PolandPoland Rally Poland 6th
AustriaAustria Austrian alpine tour 1
United StatesUnited States Press-on-Regardless Rally 2
United StatesUnited States Olympus Rally 3
CanadaCanada Rideau Lakes Rally 1
CanadaCanada Quebec Criteria 3
New ZealandNew Zealand Rally New Zealand 33
Ivory CoastIvory Coast Rally Côte d'Ivoire 15th
ArgentinaArgentina Rally Argentina 39
BrazilBrazil Rally Brazil 2
AustraliaAustralia Rally Australia 25th
SpainSpain Rally Catalonia 29
IndonesiaIndonesia Rally Indonesia 2
China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China Rally China 2
Cyprus RepublicRepublic of Cyprus Rally Cyprus 8th
GermanyGermany Rally Germany 18th
TurkeyTurkey Rally Turkey 9
JapanJapan Rally Japan 7th
MexicoMexico Rally Mexico 16
NorwayNorway Rally Norway 2
IrelandIreland Rally Ireland 2
JordanJordan Rally Jordan 3
BulgariaBulgaria Rally Bulgaria 1
ChileChile Rally Chile 2
Total 13 8th 10 10 11 11 12 12 12 13 12 12 12 13 13 13 13 12 14th 14th 13 10 8th 9 14th 13 14th 14th 14th 14th 14th 16 16 16 16 15th 12 13 13 13 13 13 13 14th 13 13 14th 14th 584

See also

Portal: Motorsport  - Overview of Wikipedia content on motorsport


  • Jörg D. Brosowski: Alpine Blue Wins (book, 556 pages) - Torques (film), ISBN 9783000235887 .

Web links

Commons : World Rally Championship  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. WRC Calendar 2020 , accessed on August 4, 2020
  2. What is WRC? , accessed on August 4, 2020
  3. WRC - Technical Specifications , accessed August 3, 2020
  4. - Internet site: WRC2: Technical rules. Retrieved August 3, 2020 .
  5. The WRC3 , accessed August 3, 2020
  6. Junior WRC - Technical Specifications , accessed on August 3, 2020
  7. (accessed March 1, 2011)
  8. a b c d e f g h i j k l Only valid for 2 liter cups