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WRC : World Rally Championship

Established in 1973, the WRC is widely regarded as the most challenging motorsport championship in the world. The World Rally Championship (WRC) is a rallying series organized by the FIA, the governing body for worldwide motorsport. The series spreads across a number of countries and consists of three-day events each driven on surfaces ranging from gravel and tarmac to snow and ice.

 

HOW THE RALLY WORKS

Each rally is split into 15–25 special stages which are run against the clock on closed roads. Drivers tackle these stages one car at a time in an effort to complete them in the shortest time, with timing down to 1/10th of a second. Along the way, a co-driver reads detailed pace notes that explain what is coming up ahead.

 

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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 properly 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. 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.

 

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.

 

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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 point basis.

 

THE COMPETITION CARS

The high-tech performance cars that compete in the FIA World Rally Championship are the all-rounders of the motorsport world. Although they are based on standard road cars and are identifiable with the type of car that you buy in your local dealership, that is where the similarities stop. These cars are stripped from a basic road vehicle to a bare metal shell before being completely rebuilt and fitted with a steel tubular roll cage to provide maximum protection in the event of a crash. All unnecessary brackets and mounting plates are removed to save weight and after around 700 hours of work, the shell emerges vastly stronger and stiffer than before. They are capable of astonishing achievements on surfaces ranging from rocky and pot-holed dirt tracks to twisty and narrow asphalt lanes or rutted roads covered in snow and ice.

 

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These cars are capable of maintaining peak performance in conditions where temperatures can plunge to near -30C at one round and soar to almost 30C above freezing on the next. The competition cars are usually powered by 1.6 litre or 2.0 litre turbocharged engines which are built following the set technical regulations.

 

MAIN CATEGORIES WITHIN THE WRC

 

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There are four categories within the WRC, the fastest and most spectacular being for World Rally Cars. WRC is the principal category in the World Rally Championship. WRC2 is the major support series in the championship and the final stepping stone to the headline WRC category. WRC3 is the leading two-wheel drive category and was only recently launched in 2013 as the intermediate step on the WRC ladder. The JWRC (Junior World Rally Championship) is a complementary series to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and is specifically aimed at offering young drivers a chance to gain experience and notoriety at an affordable cost

 

WRC CALENDAR

Rallye Monte Carlo 14 – 19 Jan 2014

Rally Sweden 05 – 08 Feb 2014

Rally Guanajuato Mexico  06 – 09 Mar 2014

Vodafone Rally de Portugal 03 – 06 April 2014

Rally Argentina 08 – 11 May 2014

Rally d Italia Sardegna 06 – 08 June 2014

Lotos Rally Poland 27 – 29 June 2014

Neste Oil Rally Finland 01 – 03 Aug 2014

ADAC Rallye Deutschland 22 – 24 Aug 2014

Coates Hire Rally Australia 12 – 14 Sept 2014

Rallye de France-Alsace 3 – 5 Oct 2014

RallyRACC -Rally de Espana 24 – 26 Oct 2014

Wales Rally GB 14 – 16 Nov 2014

 

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WRC FACTORY DRIVER LINE-UPS FOR 2014

VOLKSWAGEN MOTORSPORT

DRIVERS: Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala

CAR: Volkswagen Polo R WRC

VOLKSWAGEN MOTORSPORT II

DRIVERS: Andreas Mikkelsen

CAR: Volkswagen Polo R WRC

M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM

DRIVERS: Mikko Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans

CAR: Ford Fiesta RS WRC

RK M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM

DRIVERS: Robert Kubica

CAR: Ford Fiesta RS WRC

 

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JIPOCAR CZECH NATIONAL TEAM

DRIVERS: Martin Prokop

CAR: Ford Fiesta RS WRC

CITROEN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT

DRIVERS: Mads Ostberg, Kris Meeke and Khalid Al Qassimi

CAR: Citroen DS3 WRC

HYUNDAI SHELL WRT

DRIVERS: Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo, Juho Hanninen and Chris Atkinson

CAR: Hyundai i20 WRC

 

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