World Rally Championship 2023: Off we go

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  • A presentation of the 2023 calendar was held at the Sea Camp, which is hosting the start of the Dakar, to mark the launch of the second season of the FIA and FIM World Rally-Raid Championships.
  • After the Dakar is done and dusted on 15 January, the 83 vehicles on the start list of this season-long adventure (28 motorbikes, 4 quads, 19 T1s, 14 T3s, 14 T4s and 4 trucks) will clash again in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in February, the Sonora Rally in April, the Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina in late August and the finale in the Rallye du Maroc in October (see calendar below). It will be a ten-month melodrama with 59 days of racing (prologues included).
  • The format developed for 2023, with two new events in the Americas and a variety of terrains, has convinced new champions such as Guerlain Chicherit and the three Audi drivers —Stéphane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz and Mattias Ekström— to take the plunge.

Orlando Terranova, fourth in the 2022 Dakar and in the W2RC season classification, will be competing on home turf in the Desafío Ruta 40, a race he has won four times (2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018): "I'm stoked that the W2RC is coming to Argentina. I expect us to revisit Fiambalá, which the drivers explored in the Dakar, but the weather will be cooler in late August. We will also see the Argentinian fans turn out in force for the specials again. The tracks are narrower than in the other events that make up the series, with more vegetation than elsewhere. This will give the leg a different flavour compared to the Dakar, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge or Morocco. It will be one of the big additions to the calendar, although for me, the biggest one will be Mexico, with landscapes that almost no-one has ventured into before."

Skyler Howes, the winner of the last Rallye du Maroc, will be returning to productive hunting grounds in the Sonora Rally, which he claimed in 2018 and 2022 (second from 2019 through 2021): "The Sonora Rally is one of my favourite rallies. I've been coming here for five years. It's really exciting to see it join the W2RC calendar. It'll bring an extra challenge. What I like best about this race is its varied terrain, which takes us to the coast, among cactuses, down riverbeds and on some of the tallest dunes in North America. The other great thing about it is the atmosphere in the bivouac, where the entire rally community comes together for barbecues! For Americans like me, it's kind of our local race because it's really close to the southern United States and we all got started here, so there's a special place for it in my heart. Now we'll get to share this with the rest of the caravan."

The 2022 W2RC runner-up, Sébastien Loeb, spent the whole season locked in a vicious duel with Nasser Al Attiyah: "I think launching this championship was a really good idea because rally raids are an amazing sport. We have some wonderful rallies ahead of us, and the star-studded field means you really have to be worthy of the world champion title to win it."

Guerlain Chicherit, the 2009 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup champion, is eager to repeat the exploit: "My goal is obviously to become world champion again with my new team and new car. The Dakar awards a lot of points and there are more specials, which means more points up for grabs every day, so my campaign starts here. Our victory in Morocco showed we're on the right track, but we need to keep our feet on the ground because we have to do well throughout the season and we're up against some seriously talented drivers! Beating Nasser, Loeb or Stéphane for the world championship would be incredible. It's up to us to do our best. The calendar is exceptional. We're going to South America, to Mexico, where no-one has gone before and where the specials should be similar to the bajas I know, which motivates me even more. Argentina comes up later. We won't be able to be there for logistical reasons, but it's no big deal, I'll just go on a road trip there with my wife and children."

Stéphane Peterhansel, the undisputed hegemon of the sport with 14 Dakar victories (8 in the car category), only managed to win the Cross Country Rally World Cup once, in 2019. He was delighted to discover the 2023 W2RC: "The launch of the championship last year was already a positive development, and now it'll be adding races unlike what we are used to with its foray into Sonora in Mexico and the return to Argentina for those of us who competed in the Dakar there. Carlos, Mattias and I signed up for the championship. I think we'll see where we go from the end of the Dakar and what options are best for us. I'd like to do it."

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR 2023

Source ASO/ W2RC
Photo: A.S.O./J.Delfosse/DPPI

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World Rally-Raid Championship 2023 season 2: A dream line up

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  • After the successful launch of the W2RC in 2022, all the major bike and car rally-raid stars have confirmed their presence for season 2. It is a dream line up that will compete for the 2023 titles.
  • In the cars: Peterhansel, Sainz, Ekström and Chicherit join Al Attiyah, Loeb and Al Rajhi. All the big names are now entered in a championship that has just gone up a notch.
  • The cards have also been extensively reshuffled in T3 and T4 with new technical alliances, the arrival of the young revelations from season 1 racing the entire calendar and the return of two major manufacturers: Polaris and Yamaha.
  • In the FIM category, almost all the riders and manufacturers involved in RallyGP in 2022 are back. In Rally2, the route to the top level is being structured with teams banking on the future generation.
  • Barely crowned with the first W2RC laurels at the traditional FIA and FIM awards ceremonies this month, the 2022 world champions and winners of the different categories will be putting their titles on the line as of the next Dakar. The first of the five rounds of the 2023 W2RC calendar is about to reveal the new stakes, starting with the cars...

Peterhansel, Sainz, Ekström and Chicherit arrive

In the FIA cars, the battle, dominated by Al Attiyah-Baumel (reigning world champions) and Loeb-Lurquin is going to get a lot fiercer in 2023! The main offensive comes from Sven Quandt who has decided to try and steal their limelight by adopting a variable strategy of which he has the secret! The German head of the Audi and Mini programmes, who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the team he created in 2002, has decided to strike a blow by entering Peterhansel, Sainz and Ekström and their team-mates in the driver and co-driver rankings! On the Dakar and on the final of the Rallye du Maroc, the trio will be equipped with the factory Audis with which they will score points individually. On the other three rounds the X-raid team boss will give them the opportunity to drive his third and new generation Mini T1+. A 4x4 with body-builder dimensions that will make its debut in January in the hands of Sebastian Halpern, who will race the whole season at the wheel of this T1+. The other challenge comes from Guerlain Chicherit, who made his comeback on the Rallye du Maroc 2022 and who has decided to grab his share of the 2023 cake. The GCK Racing driver showed his potential by winning from the start.

This is enough to revive the race for the drivers' and co-drivers' World Championship titles, but also the manufacturers’ title since X-raid Mini JCW, third in 2022 behind Toyota Gazoo Racing and Bahrain Raid Xtreme, will be able to count on its jokers: ‘Peter’, Sainz and Ekström. Toyota can rest assured with their 2022 winning duo of Al Attiyah-Al Rajhi who will be supported by Erik Van Loon and Juan Cruz Yacopini. Bahrain Raid Xtreme, which finished the season with only Loeb's Hunter, will field a stronger team, as in addition to Frenchmen Loeb and Chicherit, ‘Orly’ Terranova will be the third BRX man. In addition to these tenors, Mathieu Serradori, now directly supported by Century Racing Factory, has also decided to join the party in the new CR6-T, a new generation buggy using a turbo-charged engine. Among the lone wolves, Martin Prokop and his Ford Orlen Benzina and the rookie Magdalena Zajac with Marek Czachor in a Toyota Proxcars TME Rally will also need to be watched. And China is also coming to the 2023 W2RC! Hanwei Motorsport with two national crews in SMGs and BAIC ORV, entered as manufacturers with drivers Zhang Guoyu and Zi Yunliang accompanied by the experienced co-driver Jean-Pierre Garcin. At the time of counting, there is a total of 19 cars and 4 manufacturers.

The Red Bull ‘dream team’, Yamaha plus South Racing in T3
At the T3 table, the cards have been profoundly redistributed and the circle has widened here too! First of all with the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team which has decided to join forces with Can-Am to create its ‘dream team’ by going from 4 to 5 aces! Take the 2022 championship podium of 'Chaleco' Lopez, Seth Quintero and Cristina Guttierez, add Mitch Guthrie powered by a prototype that prefigures the T3-U category, move the T4 Dakar winner Austin Jones to T3 and you get the new composition of the Red Bull Off-Road Junior USA Team presented by BF Goodrich (the American trio) and the Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team (Lopez and Gutierrez). An alliance that will take on X-raid and Yamaha who are coming with a new factory programme for the Japanese brand. Equipped with a lightweight prototype developed during the 2022 championship by Sven Quandt's team, the German driver Annett Fischer and the Portuguese Joao Ferreira will be equipped with a state-of-the-art vehicle. South Racing Can-Am adds to its regulars Alvarez, Zille and Akeel, the ex-biker and manager Helder Rodrigues who would very much like to follow in the footsteps of ‘Chaleco’! With Jean-Luc Ceccaldi-Pisson in a Zephyr (JLC Racing), Claude Fournier (Team BBR Pole Position 77) and Aliyyah Koloc (Buggyra ZM Academy), there will be a total of 14 entries.

Red Bull, youngsters and Polaris in T4
In T4, it will also be necessary to make some space to welcome a returning brand, some youngsters and to get used to the new livery of the W2RC 2022 title holder Rokas Baciuska. The young Lithuanian will now race for the Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team. Three ‘sons of’ will also be featuring in the results sheets. At South Racing Can-Am with Bruno Conti de Oliveira, one of the revelations of the Rallye du Maroc who is none other than the son of Rodrigo Luppi di Oliveira, who will be present with regulars Guayasamin, Taylor and Seaidan. Another nugget discovered in Morocco is Pau Navarro, the son of FN Speed’s team boss. And in the Cobant-Energylandia clan, Marek's son Eryk will be the third member of the Goczal family with Michal competing for the title in T4. With the return of Polaris, it is not just a family story but the history of SSV that returns to W2RC. The American manufacturer that was the first to win the Dakar in SSV in 2012 is back with the latest generation 2000cc RZR Pro R. The pioneering Xtreme Plus Polaris Factory team will be represented by 2016 Dakar winner Michele Cinotto and Japan's Shinsuke. Together with Rebecca Busi (HRT Technology) and Nicolas Cavigliasso (Drag'on Rally), they will also be a total of 14 entries in T4.

Revenge in T5
In the truck category, the three official teams: Project 2030, MM Technology and Fesh Fesh Group are once again entered, the latter now with two trucks. Although Kees Koolen got the upper hand in last year’s battle, MM Technology boss Martin Macik dominated the early part of the season and will be keen to take his revenge. For season 2, Tomas Vratny will team up with Albert Llovera, doubling the Fesh Fesh team’s chances.

16 RallyGP riders in the FIM bikes category
After the transfer of Adrien van Beveren to HRC during the 2022 season, the W2RC manufacturers' line-up remains fixed for 2023. The same teams will be back for season 2, with one expected returnee: Daniel Sanders, the team-mate of world champion Sam Sunderland, who has not ridden since his crash on the last Dakar. Alongside this Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing duo, there’s Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Walkner, Price, K. Benavides), Husqvarna Factory Racing (L. Benavides, Howes), Hero Motosports Rally (Bühler, Branch, Rodrigues, Caimi) and the Monster Energy Honda manufacturers' world champion (Brabec, Quintanilla, Cornejo, ‘VBA’). To these 15 factory riders, we must add the American Mason Klein, winner of the Rally 2 World Cup, who is continuing his career by joining the pros while remaining at KTM satellite team BAS World KTM Racing.

More support in Rally 2
The other satellite team, HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing will be assisting Klein's runner-up, Frenchman Romain Dumontier, as well as Michael Docherty, the rookie from South Africa who made a strong impression in the first stages of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The trio that finished the championship behind Klein and Dumontier will also be challenging for the 2023 title. Bradley Cox continues with BAS World KTM Racing, as does Poland's Konrad Dabrowski with Duust Diverse Racing while Camille Chapelière joins Team Casteu. The Italian Paolo Lucci, who posted some good performances in 2022, joins the BAS World KTM Racing team. Jan Brabec is staying with his own team Strojrent Racing. The French Nomade Racing team, a regular presence on the big international rallies, is taking the plunge and committing itself to the full 2023 season with Mathieu Dovèze and Jean-Loup Lepan. Two American newcomers join W2RC and make the USA the strongest motorcycle nation. David Pearson will ride for American Rally Originals while Jacob Arbubright joins Duust Diverse Racing. In the women's category, Miriam Pol is back to defend her title. In Rally3, we will have to wait for the first event open to this category to know the contenders, but Frenchman Jérémy Miroir who made his appearance in the 2022 final by winning the Andalucía Rally could be a favourite.

In the quads, reigning world number two Jurav Varga (Varga Motorsport) will face Laisvydas Kancius (Story Racing SRO), the very experienced Pablo Copeti (Del Amo Motorsports by Motul) all of whom will have to watch out for the return of Axel Dutry. The Drag'on Rally team boss has decided to commit to the full season and has prepared for this with a second place on the 2022 Rallye du Maroc. In the FIM category there will be a total of 32 competitors and 5 manufacturers.

Source W2RC

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Crystal Ball: FIA Sporting Delegate: “The main target was to simplify the regulations”

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We’ve already asked some team bosses about the changes for next year and the future of cross-country rallies but what about the other side of the table? In this part of our Crystal Ball series we asked the most competent: FIA Cross-Country Rally Championships Sporting Delegate and Category Manager Jerome Roussel.

"We have many changes for 2023. The main target was first to simplify, to have regulations that are simpler for competitors. For example, we put all the penalties that were spread across the regulations in an appendix at the end, so it’s easier for the competitors to know what would happen if they did an infringement.

We also removed all the technical stuff back to technical regulations, before there was some technical info in the sporting regulations. We worked on many, many topics for the Dakar, for the marathon stage we reviewed all the regulations. We also reviewed the starting order that was an issue this year, so we tried to find a better solution for the future. We did hundreds of changes for next year.

For me the ten-minute penalty for losing a wheel is not a big change. The good thing is that now you know what will happen. At the moment when you lose a wheel, you go to the stewards, and sometimes it can be a penalty, sometimes a fine. Next year it will be ten minutes, full stop. So I think it’s better, it will eliminate some discussions. It’s not a big change but we did a few like this. For me the main change is to have reviewed the regulations with the main teams and to have simplified what could be simplified."

No neutralisation zone for T1 and T2

"The T1 drivers could get some information by watching the GPS of their rivals to see what the gaps were, so the second part of the stage was maybe less interesting. Now they will have to push from start to finish, they will not stop at the neutralisation. It is there to refill the T3s and T4s, but it was useless for the T1s to stop, so we removed it to make sure the race is interesting from A to Z for the drivers.

We cannot do the same for the T3 and T4, because they need to refuel. We cannot stop the spectators being there to give information either but it is forbidden. We will also make sure we limit the presence of team personnel which are sometimes “disguised” as media. We will work to make sure that the refuelling zone is really only for refuelling and not for the teams to give information to the crews.

Regarding the watches, banning them from the cars completely is also a new thing, but now a watch that looks like a normal watch can have some connected functions: GPS, 5G and so on, so the simplest solution was to remove them and to put them in the same pouch as the phones."

1812 jerome roussel 2

 
New rules for priority drivers

"This is new for this year to give a kind of hierarchy, with different privileges and different duties. Sometimes you can become a priority driver and it comes with some things you have to do, or to pay, and that’s not fair. So, we wanted to have these three scales in the pyramid.

The platinum will be the ‘top guns’ that try to win Dakar every year. On Platinum we'll have 5 drivers, on Gold 15-20 maximum, so it will be a shorter list than before, based on criteria of the previous year’s performance."

What about the future?

"For the future of the sporting regulations we don’t have anything planned, we do it for the next year and after we will see what we do for 2024. We don’t have to anticipate so much. If we want to change something, we do it for next year, we don’t have to wait two years to implement it. So everything we saw and wanted to do, we’ve done it for next year.

Communication between the FIA, teams, organisers is super important. It’s a new way of working. The World Championship is just one year old, so the more we spend time together, the more we know each other, the easier communication is. We are open to every discussion, every suggestion, we are not working on our own. I love to discuss with competitors, small and big ones, to get their opinions on things we should improve for the future."

Text: Rita Kónya
Interview: Sveta Amelichkina
Photos: RallyZone, social media

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2023 FIA Calendars

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The following FIA sporting calendars for 2023 have been approved by the World Motor Sport Council when it convened in Bologna on Wednesday 7 December, or earlier during the year by e-vote.

FIA World Rally-Raid Championship
Period - Country - Competition name
31/12/2022 – 15/01/2023 - - SAU - Dakar
25/02 – 02/03/2023 - - ARE - Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge T5
18-23/04/2023 - MEX - Sonora Rally*
26/08 – 01/09/2023 - - ARG - Desafio Ruta 40*
12-18/10/2023 - MAR - Rallye du Maroc T5*
T5: Events counting toward the FIA Rally-Raid Championship for T5 Drivers and Co-Drivers

FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas
Period - Country - Competition name
02-04/02/2023 - SAU - Saudi Baja
16-18/03/2023 - QAT - Qatar International Baja
06-09/07/2023 - ITA - Italian Baja
20-23/07/2023 - ESP - Baja España Aragón
24-27/08/2023 - POL - Baja Poland
26-28/10/2023 - PRT - 37ª Baja Portalegre
02-04/11/2023 - JOR - Jordan Baja
01-03/12/2023 - ARE - Dubai International Baja

FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas
Period - Country - Competition name
14-16/04/2023 - ESP - Baja TT Dehesa Extremadura
17-20/05/2023 - GRC - 10th Rally Greece OffRoad
10-13/08/2023 - HUN - XX. Hungarian Baja
22-24/09/2023 - PRT - Baja TT Sharish Reguengos Mourão
20-22/10/2023 - TUR - Baja Troia

FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas
Period - Country - Competition name
02-04/02/2023 - SAU - Saudi Baja
16-18/03/2023 - QAT - Qatar International Baja
02-04/11/2023 - JOR - Jordan Baja
23-25/11/2023 - KWT - Baja Kuwait*
01-03/12/2023 - ARE - Dubai International Baja

* Subject to ASN’s confirmation
** Subject to circuit homologation

Source FIA

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Dakar 2023: X-raid presents the MINI John Cooper Works Rally Plus

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Powerful vehicle for the T1+ category
Significant CO2 reduction through use of innovative HVO fuel

The X-raid vehicle family continues to grow: X-raid will compete in the upcoming Dakar 2023 with two MINI John Cooper Works Plus in the T1+ category. With the new desert racer, X-raid not only wants to have a say in the overall victory, but also to take a leading role in the area of sustainability for vehicles with combustion engines.

The MINI JCW Rally Plus runs on second-generation HVO fuel - the biodiesel is made from used vegetable fats and plastic bottles, for example. As a result, the fuel does not compete with food production like HVO1. In addition, in future the engine power will no longer be regulated by an air restrictor, but electronically. Together with the HVO fuel, X-raid thus achieves an enormous CO2 saving.

The MINI JCW Rally Plus is based on the all-wheel-drive MINI JCW Rally and thus retains the typical MINI appearance in many areas. Noticeable exterior changes are the longer and wider front and the wider wings. In addition, the engineers were able to optimise the aerodynamics, which improved the cooling of the brakes and dampers.

The T1+ category was introduced in 2022 and is a mixture of the 4x4 and buggy regulations. For example, the MINI JCW Rally Plus features all-wheel drive, paired with a wider wheelbase, increased track width and higher suspension travel. However, the ability to control tyre pressure from the cockpit is reserved for the buggy category.

On 31 December 2022, the MINI JCW Rally Plus will celebrate its debut at the prologue to the Dakar 2023.

Sven Quandt: "Sustainability is clearly at the forefront of our forward-looking MINI JCW Rally Plus project. The future, motorsport will have to get used to the fact that without sustainability there will be no more motorsport. In this respect, it was clearly a matter of the heart for us that we will operate the ninth MINI more sustainably. With HVO we are entering new territory for the cross-country scene and I am looking forward to introducing our latest addition to the family, the MINI JCW Rally Plus with significant aerodynamic changes. In our opinion, HVO fuel is an important complement to other low-emission powertrains - and not just in motorsport. The Dakar offers a very good platform to test this fuel and raise awareness."

Source X-Raid

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2022 FIA Awards Ceremony: Al Attiyah, Baumel and Toyota make history

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2022 WORLD RALLY-RAID CHAMPIONSHIP

On Friday 9 December in Bologna, in the heart of Motor Vally, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, the FIA brought together its 2022 champions for its traditional awards ceremony, in the presence of its president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
For the first time in its history, rally-raid joined the FIA's major disciplines by moving from World Cup to World Championship status under the W2RC banner.
Three World Rally-Raid Championship crowns were awarded: driver to Nasser Al Attiyah, co-driver to Mathieu Baumel and manufacturer to Toyota Gazoo Racing.

2022 will go down as a historic year for rally-raid. For the first time in their history, FIA cars and FIM motorcycles have come together under a common name and programme, that of W2RC, the promotion of which has been entrusted to the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.).

Within the FIA, W2RC has joined F1, FE, WEC, WRC, WRX and Karting to bring the total number of world championship status motorsport disciplines to seven.

For competitors in the World Rally-Raid Championship, the season was composed of four rounds, inaugurated in unprecedented fashion by the Dakar, putting three new world championship titles at stake.

A major challenge for five-time winner and World Cup title holder Nasser Al Attiyah. After his awards in 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2021 and after an epic duel with Sebastien Loeb, he is finally the World Rally-Raid Champion for the first time! Like motorcyclist Sam Sunderland, Nasser Al Attiyah has achieved the most prestigious of 2022 doubles: victory on the Dakar and the W2RC World Championship title.

Alongside the World Champion driver, his co-driver Mathieu Baumel, who has already shared four World Cup victories with him since 2015, also became the first co-driver to win the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship.

Rewarded for their second place on the final podium, Sebastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin came close to giving the Frenchman his tenth FIA world crown after his nine WRC titles. The Bahrain Raid Xtreme team were separated by just one point from the eventual world champions throughout the first half of the season, but fell behind on the Rallye du Maroc, failing to catch up with the Toyota despite winning the final Andalucía Rally. At the end of the season, 20 points separated the two teams (169 points to 149 points).

The Overdrive Racing pick-up of Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Dirk Von Zitzewitz was always in the hunt for a podium finish. Twice on the third step of the World Cup (2014 and 2016) and as many times just off it (4th in 2019 and 2021), the Saudi Arabian climbs onto his first World Championship podium, a few days after winning the Baja World Cup.

Their performance, combined with that of the World Champion Hilux allows Toyota Gazoo Racing to become the first Manufacturers' World Champion with a total of 163 points against 135 points for the BRX team's Hunter.

Al Attiyah, Baumel and Toyota Gazoo Racing now have three weeks to savour their World Championship title. The 2023 W2RC season will begin on December 31 with the prologue of the 45th edition of the Dakar, again the first round of the championship, before the doyenne Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the Sonora Rally (Mexico) and the Ruta 40 (Argentina), new to the world calendar, and the traditional finale on the Rallye du Maroc.

Quotes:
David Castera, Motorsport Director of the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) : "We are particularly happy and proud to have seen the birth of the first FIA World Rally-Raid Championship titles this year, putting our sport in the spotlight. The first season of the W2RC has been an opportunity to harmonise the regulations and to successfully improve safety by providing real support to the discipline. A.S.O. will continue to work on the development of rally-raid in the coming years. From 2023, new events will further strengthen its international scope. The new history of rally-raid is well and truly underway.”

Glyn Hall, Team Principal, Toyota Gazoo Racing - World Champion Manufacturer: "We've had the most successful year imaginable. Firstly, by winning the Dakar with a vehicle that was making its debut under the new regulations and winning three stages. Then by winning the championship ahead of Sébastien Loeb, statistically the best rally driver of all time. And finally by winning the Manufacturers' World Championship title thanks to the contribution of Yazeed Al Rajhi. We’ve just spent six days in Namibia to prepare for the 2023 season and I can say that we will be going into the Dakar stronger than ever. The car has been developed to the limits of what we could achieve today."

Nasser Al Attiyah, World Drivers' Champion: "It's a really unique feeling to receive my first World Championship title, we have been waiting for it for a long time with Mathieu. We have won many races together over the last few years and this season, which started with the Dakar victory, before the constant ups and downs with Séb, has been incredible and makes me all the happier.”

Mathieu Baumel, World Co-Driver Champion: "This first World Champion title in the history of rally-raid will remain in my memory, especially since it happened in the same year as the Dakar victory. It is obviously a strong emotion to finally be recognised by the FIA in the same way as the other world champions. This should give even more impact to the discipline in the future, maybe to the point of overtaking traditional rally. It's good for us to have closed the chapter of the World Cup with a victory and to open the W2RC book with a first World Championship title, but now we will have to double the victory on the Dakar with the one at the end of the year on the W2RC! We hope to do it again several times, ‘inch Allah’ as Nasser says!"

Did you know?
Nasser Al Attiyah's 2022 W2RC title is his fourth FIA World Championship title.
The Qatari already has three. The first was in 2006 in the PWRC (Production World Rally Championship) before a double in 2014 and 2015 in WRC-2. The 2015 title was won with his co-driver Mathieu Baumel, their first joint World Championship title. The duo now share two FIA World Championship titles.
In MERC (Middle East Rally Championship) Nasser has 18 titles, 8 of which he shares with Mathieu.

All the W2RC 2022 winners:
- Winner of the FIA Rally-Raid Championship for T3 drivers: Francisco Contardo Lopez (CHL-South Racing Can-Am)
- Winner of the FIA Rally-Raid Championship for T3 co-drivers: François Cazalet (FRA-Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team)
- Winner of the FIA Rally-Raid Championship for T4 drivers: Rokas Baciuska (LTU- South Racing Can-Am)
- Winner of the FIA Rally-Raid Championship for T4 co-drivers: Lukasz Laskawiec (POL-Cobant-Energylandia Rally)
- Winner of the FIA Rally-Raid Championship for T5 drivers: Kees Koolen (NLD-Project 2030)
- Winner of the FIA Rally-Raid Championship for T5 co-drivers: Wouter De Graaf (NLD-Project 2030)

Source W2RC\ASO\FIA
Photo: FREDERIC LE FLOC H / DPPI

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W2RC 2022: Sam Sunderland opens the W2RC book

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- On Saturday 3 December at the Rimini Congress Centre in Italy, the FIM brought together more than 40 2022 World Champions for its traditional awards ceremony in the presence of its re-elected president Jorge Viegas.
- For its first season of four rounds, inaugurated for the first time in its history by the Dakar, the W2RC made its official entry among the disciplines rewarded with an FIM World Championship title.
- In the presence of more than eight hundred guests from all over the world, Sam Sunderland received the first ever W2RC World Champion crown, opening a new page in the FIM's awards book.

2022 was a milestone year for rally-raid. For the first time, FIM bikes and FIA cars came together under a common banner and programme, that of the W2RC, whose promotion was entrusted to the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.).
The opening round of the calendar was won by GasGas mounted Sam Sunderland, who scored a second victory in ten Dakars, after that of 2017. At the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the British rider took a serious option on the title before the halfway point of the championship by winning in the Emirates for the third time in his career (2017, 2019 and 2022). Fifth at both the Rallye du Maroc and the Andalucía Rally, Sam secured the lead he had established on the first two rounds to finish with a total of 85 points to American Ricky Brabec's 59 and Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren's 58, his two closest challengers, both Honda mounted.
It was also the second World Championship title for the Briton, who has already been rewarded by the FIM in 2019.
By winning both the Dakar and the 2022 W2RC title in the same year, Sunderland leaves two big boot marks on the first W2RC season!
To honour its rally-raid World Champion, the FIM gave Sunderland a triumphant 'bus of champions' tour before the Briton donned his dinner jacket to take the red carpet to the traditional gala dinner. The evening concluded with Valentino Rossi taking to the stage to receive a special award before the final bouquet reserved for the seven stars of the evening: Sam Sunderland (Rally-Raid), Toni Bou (Trials), Andrea Verona (Enduro), Bartosz Zmarzlik (Speedway), Tim Gajser (Motocross), Alvaro Bautista (Superbike) and Francesco Bagnaia (MotoGP).
Sam Sunderland has less than a month left to fully enjoy his title. Before the end of December, he will already go back to defend his crown on the tracks of Saudi Arabia. The W2RC 2023 season will start on December 31 with the prologue of the 45th edition of the Dakar, the first round of the championship.

Quotes:
Sam Sunderland, 2022 W2RC World Champion: " For sure it’s been a great year for me and for GasGas. The Dakar and Abu Dhabi went really well, winning both and then we had a long summer break with Kazakhstan being cancelled. Coming back to Morocco after the break I had a small fall in the pre-race training, hurting my wrist, so the race was a bit of a struggle. Andalucia started out well, winning the prologue and I had a good feeling and wanted to end the year on a high, but after a 6 min speed penalty and with the race being shortened by a stage there wasn’t much time to mount a comeback, so I kept it safe to wrap up the title! Currently I’m training hard for the upcoming Dakar…"

Jorge Viegas, President of the FIM: " For the W2RC it was a first year with a promoter, a first time with the Dakar and finally a first time for GasGas. So many firsts that make Sam Sunderland's title a great victory."

David Castera, A.S.O. / Promoter: "The first W2RC season fully delivered on its promise. The harmonisation of the rules and race formats allowed all the teams and competitors to be present at each round. From now on, the whole rally-raid ecosystem will work all year round for its development and the safety of its competitors.
I would like to congratulate Sam Sunderland who is the big winner of this first season. Following on from his two victories on the Dakar and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, he was able to stay up front at the end of the championship, as he has done for many years. His consistency, one of the pillars of the discipline, rewards his season but also his many years of work.
In addition to the top riders, the new generation of rising stars in Rally 2 have been able to flourish and benefit from the support of manufacturers.”

Did you know?
By winning the Dakar and the World Championship title in the same year Sam Sunderland has pulled off a feat last achieved by Marc Coma back in 2014.

All the winners of the 2022 W2RC:
· Manufacturers' World Champion: Monster Energy Honda
· Rally 2 World Cup / Rally 2 Junior Trophy: Mason Klein (USA - BAS World KTM Racing)
· Rally 3 World Cup: Amine Echiguer (Mar - Maroc ART)
· Quad World Cup: Alexandre Giroud (Fra - Yamaha Racing SMX Drag'on)
· Women's Trophy: Miriam Pol (Ndl - HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing)
· Veteran’s Trophy: Mario Patrao (Por - Credit Agricola-Mario Patrao Motosport)

Source W2RC / ASO
Photo: GOOD-SHOOT.COM / Reygondeau/Joly

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Crystal Ball: “We must be careful to keep the costs down”

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We have already heard several assessments about the new technical and sporting regulations as well as the future of cross-country rallies. in the next part of our Crystal Ball series, a real legend, with experience at the highest levels of almost all branches of motorsport, told us his opinion: Prodrive chairman David Richards.

“I think the regulations is more like an evolution of the regulations, not a big step change. They're all things we've been discussing for many years now. So I think it's going to be just a sensible progression.
The big challenge with the new regulations is the balance of technology. The Toyota and ourselves, we're very equal, we are very happy that we have no problems there. The big challenge is to get a good balance with Audi which comes with completely new technology. I'm looking to the FIA, and I'm sure they'll find a good solution for this.
Always in sport, you get small changes, and evolutions. It's quite good now the consultation between the teams, the FIA and ASO and we're starting to get a good collaboration. So I see things going very positively for rally raid for the future.
There will be examples of regulations that we're not totally happy with but we’'ll have to discuss that. You see, these things change all the time, and you'll see that it doesn’t work or it works and you have to evolve the regulation. So we keep our fingers crossed. I think everyone's very sensible, and we collaborate. The good thing about this sport is that everyone's working together. And it's not like a Formula 1 environment. It's a collaborative environment, which is very positive.
I see that the future looks very strong and with the ASO as the promoter, they're doing a very good job. And we now have to just we must be careful to keep the costs down and not let it out of the reach of the private competitors. We mustn’t allow it to become too expensive.”

2011 bahrain

Bahrain Raid Xtreme is one of the youngest players at the top level of cross-country rallies, so we asked the team boss about how much time does it take to build a new car. “It would take two years to build a brand new car. A year of building the car, designing the car, and then you need a year of testing. To build another car, it takes us about six weeks, something like that.”

Text: Rita Kónya
Interview: Sveta Amelichkina / Cross-Country Rally News
Photos: A.S.O./J.Delfosse/DPPI

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Crystal Ball: “I think it’s very important that we are more environmentally friendly”

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The T1+ category debuted this year and seems to be a success story, with more and more teams involved. Will Audi join the crowd? How can the new points system in Dakar affect the World Championship? What would be the most important for the future cross-country rallies? We talked to someone who is an expert in many different categories, including electric car (Audi), T1 and T1+ (MINI), as well as T3 Category (Yamaha prototype): X-Raid Managing Director Sven Quandt.

“Every year there are some new technical regulations, T1, T1+, etc. No one yet knows what the balance will be, we have to see it at Dakar. Saying something before would not be right, we need to see it in action and we can then decide what is correct, not correct, because we all don’t know enough about what will be the technical changes.

On the T3s and T4s we are quite clear. The T3s will have bigger tyres. Many years ago I said ‘be careful!’ because big tyres will make the cars fast. You can see this already with the Yamaha, it’s much quicker on bigger tyres even in the Open class, overtaking many cars.

I think there is a good future for all the T3s and T4s, they are affordable and you can still run a World Championship with them. On the T1, T1+ it gets very expensive to run.

Obviously to recover the cost of a T1+ you need quite a few cars to sell because the development at that level is not cheap anymore. We all know this, we are fighting for a World Championship.

I’ve said that I don’t think it’s necessary to make the T1+; there are over 200 T1s with privateers and you devalue the T1+ because it is so much faster. We’ve reduced the horsepower of the T1+, let’s see if that helps, I’m not 100% sure it will be the solution, but we have to see the results at the Dakar.

The car itself is refined from last year. Outside you see a lot of changes but underneath it is just refined, making it more reliable, etc. There is no ‘rocket science’ change from the first year because it was complicated enough, and we have been lucky that the car only had one problem. In the second year it must run without any problems to have good results for sure.

On the sporting side one important thing is the points system on the Dakar, because last year it was possible to drop out on the first day and make points up on following days. You could accumulate nearly as much as if you were leading the Dakar, I think this is gone now. There are new things introduced that we have to see if they make sense at the first race, I’m not convinced of all of them but it’s too early to say whether it’s good or bad.

I think it’s very important that we are more environmentally friendly. We have the new Audi but we have to go in alternative fuels for both petrol and diesel cars. This means all the service vehicles, trucks too. If we do this then the footprint we leave will be much less than before. If everyone agrees we can do this in two years, which would be really nice to achieve,”

Sven Quandt said.

Text: Rita Kónya
Interview: Sveta Amelichkina
Photos: Audi Motorsport

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W2RC 2023: FIA-FIM World Rally-Raid Championship 2023 Calendar: Via the Americas

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For its second year in its revamped format, bringing together the FIA and FIM in a shared adventure, the world rally raid championships will take place over five different legs in 2023, with the kick-off of proceedings on 31st December 2022 for the 45th edition of the Dakar, in Saudi Arabia.

The contest will then continue on the oldest event on the schedule for the championships (formerly the world cup), namely the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, with a new festival of dunes. Changes in terrain will enable proponents of different riding and driving styles to express themselves as the championship heads for Central America and the Sonora Rally in Mexico in late April.

The second part of the season will initially take place in South America, more specifically in Argentina, a land familiar to the Dakar, where many riders and drivers will come together to duke it out on the Desafio Ruta 40 in August. Finally, the finale of the W2RC will take place on the traditional stage of the Rallye du Maroc in mid-October.

David Castera, Amaury Sport Organisation director of motorsports (A.S.O. promoter of World Rally-Raid Championship): “As the first season of the W2RC comes to an end, which has given rise to a breath-takingly long-running intrigue since its inception, it is particularly exciting to see that new organisers have chosen to join us, giving this circuit even more consistency and balance. The addition of the Sonora Rally in Mexico and the Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina allows the discipline to reassert its inclination for travelling that drives all its followers. The diversity of the territories proposed also ensures that different talents will be able to express themselves, making for a fine pitched battle between January and October among the rally raid riders, drivers and co-pilots”.

Khalid Bin Sulayem, EMSO President, reflects on the success of the sport: “For more than thirty years, we have had the privilege of hosting the elite in the rally-raid discipline in the United Arab Emirates. Joining the FIA and FIM world championships is a means of taking this process a step further. We wish to support the development of the discipline and raise it to the highest standards in all domains, especially in terms of safety. In view of the efforts made by the W2RC, promoter A.S.O. and our fellow organisers, we believe that this approach is both refreshing and constructive for the future of our sport”.

Darren Skilton, Sonora Rally director : “We are both honoured and excited to be joining the world rally-raid championship. It is a major turning point, not only for the American all-terrain community, but also for the state of Sonora in Mexico. This development is what we have been working for since the beginning, so to see this become reality is a dream come true. One of our main motivations is to bring together and develop a group of American drivers, both amateurs and professionals, with a view to participating in rally-raids and the Dakar”.

David Eli, organiser of the Desafio Ruta 40 : “We are delighted that the Desafio Ruta 40 is back on the programme for the world championships. The rally was organised for the first time in 2010, and 2023 will witness its 11th edition. Since its beginnings, the race has reflected the essence of the Dakar, exploring Argentina from north to south, crossing breath-taking landscapes whilst proposing demanding stages thanks to a broad variety of terrains. At MasEventos, we have considerable organisational know-how and for this new edition we will be preparing a significant challenge in terms of both driving and navigation. It will be stimulating for riders, drivers and crews from all around the world”.

 

calendar w2rc 2023

Source ASO / W2RC

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W2RC 2022: A dream season for Al-Attiyah and Sunderland

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Andalucia Rally 2022

Key points:
Ø Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) emerged victorious from a titanic duel with Sébastien Loeb (Bahrain Raid Xtreme) to claim his first FIA World Rally-Raid Championship.
Ø For Sam Sunderland (GasGas Factory Racing), the World Rally-Raid Championship is the icing on the cake of an annus mirabilis that began with his triumph in the motorbike race of the 2022 Dakar, echoing Al-Attiyah's victory in the car category.
Ø "Chaleco" López (T3), Rokas Baciuška (T4), Alexandre Giroud (quads) and Amine Echiguer (Rally 3) also took up their places in the pantheon alongside Mason Klein (Rally 2) and Kees Koolen (T5), who had already been crowned in Morocco.
Ø The next W2RC season will consist of the 2023 Dakar, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the Sonora Rally (Mexico), the Desafío Ruta 40 (Argentina) and the Rallye du Maroc.

T1: Al-Attiyah denies Loeb his tenth title
Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) remains the king of rally raids. The Qatari driver, a five-time winner of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, added a new title to his resume with his first FIA World Rally-Raid Championship. Although his triumph in the 2022 Dakar should have made him the obvious favourite, a stellar Sébastien Loeb (Bahrain Raid Xtreme) landed a massive haul of bonus points for stage wins and dragged himself to within one point of Al-Attiyah following the biggest event of the season. A crash in the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge sent the Qatari's campaign into a tailspin, but he recovered by taking a leaf out of Loeb's book and racking up one stage win after another. After the summer, Al-Attiyah's podium finish in the Rallye du Maroc and Loeb's debacle put the former on course to win the W2RC. The Toyota driver sealed the deal with second place overall in the Andalucía Rally, good enough for the World Championship title.
Sébastien Loeb went toe to toe with the Toyota Gazoo Racing leader, but his BRX Hunter let him down in the hunt for that coveted tenth World Championship. However, he ended the season on a high note with a sensational victory in the Andalucía Rally.

T3: "Chaleco" topples Cristina Gutiérrez
A string of two victories in the Dakar and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge made Francisco "Chaleco" López (Can-Am Factory South Racing) the odds-on favourite to win the W2RC even before the summer, but with opponents of the calibre of the 2022 World Cup winner, Cristina Gutiérrez (Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team), and Seth Quintero (Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA), he could ill afford to rest on his laurels. The Chilean delivered another brilliant performance with second place in the Rallye du Maroc and clambered onto the podium again in the Andalucía Rally, where he built up an unassailable lead with one day to go.

T4: Baciuška earns the title in a grim slugfest
Rokas Baciuška (South Racing Can-Am) only got into rally raids a year ago, but he has already got a taste of glory. At the tender age of 22, he prevailed in a no-holds-barred contest with much more experienced competitors: Marek Goczał (Cobant-Energylandia Rally Team) and Austin Jones (Can-Am Factory South Racing). The showdown went down to the wire. Left with no choice but to go flat out in Andalusia to get their hands on the crown, Jones and Goczał crashed out of contention.

In contrast, the Lithuanian prodigy (who has a remarkable background in kart racing and rallycross) kept his cool and held up well under pressure in the spectacular finale, with just two points separating the three men going into the Andalucía Rally. Baciuška proved himself worthy of the World Championship with three second-place finishes (2022 Dakar, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and Andalucía Rally) and a victory.

T5: Kees Koolen first on the throne
The Dutchman Kees Koolen (Project 2030) had the honour of becoming the first W2RC champion of the year, a feat he achieved after the Rallye du Maroc, the last round of the season for the trucks (T5). His consistency allowed him to outlast Martin Macík (MM Technology), who hit the ground running with victory in the Dakar but saw his hopes go up in smoke due to a mechanical in Abu Dhabi. Koolen, the runner-up in Saudi Arabia, pounced on the opportunity to win the Desert Challenge and finished the job with second place in Morocco after the summer.

sam sunderland 23 10 w a

Motorbikes — Rally GP: Consistency carries the day for Sunderland
Sam Sunderland (GasGas Factory Racing) has been the undisputed master of the Rally GP category since day one. A brace of victories in the Dakar and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge put him in the pole position to take the W2RC. Following the summer hiatus due to the Andalucía Rally date change, the Brit soldiered through the Rallye du Maroc with a sore wrist. He gritted his teeth to finish fifth and remain in control ahead of the Spanish leg. An injured Pablo Quintanilla (Monster Energy Honda) was forced to sit out the race in Andalusia, enabling Sunderland to approach the rally with caution. Sunderland finished the W2RC with 85 points in the bag, 26 more than Ricky Brabec and 27 more than Adrien Van Beveren, (both Monster Energy Honda), illustrating his hegemony throughout the season.

Motorbikes — Rally 2 & quads: Giroud mirrors Klein
Mason Klein (BAS World KTM Racing Team) was probably the most dominant champion, his hunger for success undiminished in the Andalucía Rally despite already being mathematically assured of the W2RC title. His rivals, Romain Dumontier (Team Dumontier Racing) and Bradley Cox (BAS World KTM Racing Team), were left to fight for the scraps, with the Frenchman ultimately emerging as the best of the rest. Pretty much the same can be said of the new quad champion, Alexandre Giroud (Yamaha-SMX-Drag'on). In January, he pulled off the feat of a lifetime by winning the Dakar. After skipping the Abu Dhabi leg, in the Rallye du Maroc he was knocked out of contention for the race by a mechanical, yet he still finished first among the W2RC riders. His victory in the Andalucía Rally was but the coup de grâce.

Rally 3: Amine Echiguer — Rally raid is coming home
Amine Echiguer (Team Maroc ART) conquered the FIM Rally 3 title in a fitting tribute to the history of the sport. The winner of the category (open to enduro motorbikes with larger tanks and navigation instruments) is a biker from Morocco, the cradle of rally raids, part of the continent where the legend of the Dakar was forged. It was precisely the Rallye du Maroc that cleared his path to glory with the overall victory and four stage wins out of five. And it was in Andalusia, a stone's throw away from his home country, that Echiguer secured the World Rally-Raid Championship title by finishing as the runner-up to a man destined to greatness: Jeremy Miroir, the dominant force of this Andalucía Rally.

W2RC promoter David Castera:
"The World Championship has come to an end. It was the first edition for the FIA, while the FIM stayed on board and ASO joined the team as a promoter. Overall, we're really happy because we got a lot of entrants, including the best teams. In the T1 category, we were treated to a great duel between Loeb and Nasser, the stars of the sport. We may not have attracted every big name in the first season, but we managed to create a dynamic with plenty of suspense until the last moment. It was a good start, and it will only get better from here thanks to the addition of two races in South America and North America that will bring more teams to the table and make the championship even more dynamic. All in all, it was a good first season and we look forward to building the future."

2022 FIA/FIM World Rally-Raid Champions
FIA: Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
T3: Francisco López (Can-Am Factory South Racing)
T4: Rokas Baciuška (South Racing Can-Am)
T5: Kees Koolen (Project 2030)
Motorbikes — Rally GP: Sam Sunderland (GasGas Factory Racing)
Motorbikes — Rally 2: Mason Klein (BAS World KTM Racing Team)
Motorbikes — Rally 3: Amine Echiguer (Team Maroc ART)
Quads: Alexandre Giroud (Yamaha-SMX-Drag'on)

Source W2RC / ASO
Photo: A.S.O./J.Delfosse/DPPI

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FIA World Rally-Raid Championship and Cross-Country Bajas Calendars for 2023 unveiled

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- Five-rounds on next year’s W2RC schedule, including new rounds in Mexico and Argentina in April and September
- Revised calendar starts in January at the Dakar Rally and finishes at the Rallye du Maroc in October

After a successful inaugural season, the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship will head to North and South America for the first time in 2023, in addition to visiting two established events in the Middle East and a return to the traditional season finale at the Rallye du Maroc in North Africa.

The Dakar Rally is the global flagship event in cross-country rallying and it is fitting that the event kick-starts a second year of the series. The fourth edition of the event to be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia starts in the Red Sea port city of Yanbu on December 31st, 2022 and crosses the northern, central and south-eastern deserts of the vast kingdom, heading deep into the remote Empty Quarter, before finishing in Damman in the Eastern Province on January 15th, 2023.

The long-established Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge maintains its position as round two in the calendar in March 2023 and offers seasonally high temperatures and the challenge of the towering sand dunes of the remote deserts in the United Arab Emirates.

Competitors will then visit the Sonora Rally in Mexico for the first time in April 2023. The event has been popular with international enduro riders and American competitors in the past and will offer competitors the unique challenge of desert stages across the Sonoran Desert in northern Mexico.

The second welcome edition to the calendar is Argentina’s renowned Desafio Ruta 40 at the end of August/early September 2023. A former round of the Dakar Series, the event uses desert stages adjacent to Argentina’s Ruta Nacional 40. A recent edition ran between Tucumán and San Juan and utilised some of the most demanding terrain in northern and western Argentina.

The Rallye du Maroc returns to its position as the final round of the premier cross-country series. The 2022 edition visited the southern deserts around Tan Tan and Laâyoune for the first time in several years and offers the unique challenge of demanding dunes, rocky terrain and perilous navigation.

Andrew Wheatley, FIA Rally Director, said: “Cross-country rallying is a fast-growing motor sporting discipline and we have been delighted by the success of the inaugural FIA World Rally-Raid Championship. A.S.O. is an experienced promoter and it was a very positive step to bring the Dakar Rally into the series as the first round of the championship. The 2023 calendar will offer its own unique challenges to competitors, with demanding terrain for drivers and tricky navigation for co-drivers. We are also encouraged by the interest in smaller Baja-type events from different countries and are excited to announce revisions to the three FIA Baja championship that run as support and feeder series to the W2RC.”

David Castera, A.S.O. Motor Sports Director, said: "As we bring down the curtain on the inaugural season of the W2RC, which struck gold from its first edition with a long-running series of high-stakes duels, we are thrilled to welcome new organisers that will make the circuit even more balanced and consistent. Expanding the event to include the Sonora Rally in Mexico and the Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina will inspire the globetrotter inside every rally-raid fan and competitor. The rich tapestry of landscapes will also provide opportunities for all sorts of talent to shine… Rally-raid drivers, co-drivers and riders are in for a sensational pitched battle from January to October."

The FIA has also confirmed the three bajas calendars for 2023. There are several date switches in the eight-round FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas and the Baja Northern Forest event is replaced by the Qatar International Baja. The season begins with the Saudi Baja and the new event in Qatar in February and March, before heading to Europe for four traditional rounds in Italy, Spain, Poland and Portugal. The Jordan Baja has moved from February to a date in early November and the season finishes in Dubai in December.

2023 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas

Date

Country

Event

02-04 February 2023

Saudi Arabia

 Saudi Baja

16-18 March 2023

Qatar

 Qatar International Baja

06-09 July 2023

Italy

 Italian Baja

20-23 July 2023

Spain

 Baja España Aragón

24-27 August 2023

Poland

 Baja Poland

26-28 October 2023

Portugal

 37ª Baja Portalegre

2-4 November 2023

Jordan

 Jordan Baja

1-3 December 2023

UAE

 Dubai International Baja

The FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas retains its five-round format and the opening two rounds remain in Spain and Greece. But the Italian Baja and Baja Poland are replaced by Portugal’s Baja TT Sharish Reguengos Mourão in September and Turkey’s Baja Troia. The Hungarian Baja retains its traditional August date and will be round three of the series.

2023 FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas

Date

Country

Event

14-16 April 2023

Spain

Baja TT Dehesa Extremadura

17-20 May 2023

Greece

10th Rally Greece OffRoad

03-06 August 2023

Hungary

XX. Hungarian Baja

22-24 September 2023

Portugal

Baja TT Sharish Reguengos Mourão

TBA

Turkey

Baja Troia

The FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas has been extended from four to six rounds. The Saudi Baja switches to a February date and will be followed by Bajas in Qatar, Turkey and Jordan. An addition to the calendar will be a new Baja in Kuwait in November and the finale in Dubai in December.

2023 FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas

Date

Country

Event

02-04 February 2023

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Baja

16-18 March 2023

Qatar

Qatar International Baja

02-04 November 2023

Jordan

Jordan Baja

23-25 November 2023

Kuwait

Baja Kuwait

1-3 December 2023

UAE

Dubai International Baja

TBA

Turkey

Baja Troia

The FIA World Motor Sport Council has approved on Wednesday 19 October the five-round 2023 FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) calendar, with the Sonora Rally in Mexico and Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina two new additions to the calendar.
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