Excitement builds as 2021 ERC changes get FIA World Motor Sport Council approval
*Eight-event, cost-focused FIA European Rally Championship calendar for 2021 rubberstamped *ERC provides ladder of progression with Rally5, Rally4, Rally3 and Rally2 cars permitted *FIA ERC Junior revamped to make it more accessible with Rally3 cars replacing Rally2 cars
The FIA European Rally Championship’s cost-focused eight-event calendar for 2021 – plus regulation and format tweaks – received FIA World Motor Sport Council approval at yesterday’s online meeting (December 16) to signal an exciting season ahead.
CALENDAR: EIGHT OF THE BEST FOR COST-FOCUSED 2021 ERC
The cost-focused calendar for the 2021 FIA European Rally Championship has been approved by the WMSC. Made up for eight events, including four on asphalt and four on gravel, the schedule has been formed with a focus on budget saving. This has been achieved by reducing the number of island rallies from three to two and by adding two back-to-back events to limit unnecessary expenditure.
Logistical support will once again be provided to competitors contesting the 55th Azores Rallye and Rally Islas Canarias. The approved calendar is as follows:
Round 1: Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras (Portugal, gravel), March 12-14, 2021
Round 2: 55th Azores Rallye (Gravel), March 25-27, 2021
Round 3: Rally Islas Canarias (Asphalt), May 6-8, 2021 J
Round 4: 77th Rally Poland (Gravel), June 18-20, 2021 J
Round 5: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel), July 1-3, 2021 J
Round 6: Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy, asphalt), July 23-25, 2021 J
Round 7: 50th Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Asphalt), August 27-29, 2021 J
Round 8: Rally Hungary (Asphalt), October 22-24, 2021 J
J = ERC Junior/ERC3 Junior round
Drivers will count their best seven scores from a possible eight. FIA ERC titles will be awarded providing a minimum of four events take place in 2021.
Back-to-back event concept explained
The gravel-based Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras and 55th Azores Rallye are set to form the 2021 FIA ERC’s first grouped event configuration. Following the completion of the Fafe event on March 14, a secure parking facility for the storage of rally cars, transporters, trailers and any support vehicles will be arranged ahead of the freight vessel departing for São Miguel island in the Azores on March 19.
Two more gravel rounds, 77th Rally Poland and Rally Liepāja are set to make up the next grouped event configuration. Once again a secure parking facility will be arranged ahead of the journey north from Poland to Latvia one week later.
It is hoped the storage provisions will remove the requirement for teams to return to their respective bases unnecessarily with part of the journey to transport vehicles to the next rally effectively completed with no additional cost.
CATEGORIES: ERC PROVIDES PROGRESSION FROM RALLY5 TO RALLY2
The structure of the FIA European Rally Championship allows drivers to progress from Rally5 to Rally2, with the all-new Rally3 category included as the next step up from Rally4.
All drivers holding ERC priority status can score overall championship points in 2021, regardless of the type of FIA rally car they are competing in (Rally2, the new-for-2021 Rally3, Rally4, Rally5, Group N, Rally2 Kit and RGT).
While ERC2 car eligibility remains unchanged for 2021 with drivers in Group N, RGT and Rally2 Kit machinery permitted to score points, it is planned that from 2022, ERC2 will be for Rally3 cars only subject to WMSC approval.
ERC3, the established 2WD category, will continue to be open to Rally4 and Rally5 cars and provide the first point of access to international competition for drivers stepping up from national level.
COST-REDUCTION: EVENT DISTANCES AND TYRE ALLOCATION LIMITS
Measures to reduce the cost of competing in the FIA European Rally Championship are continuing to be implemented. The WMSC has approved proposals from the FIA Rally Commission for total stage distances to be between 180 and 210 kilometres. Meanwhile, drivers in Rally2 cars will be permitted to use a maximum of 16 tyres on asphalt and gravel events, with Rally3 drivers allowed to use a maximum of 16 tyres on asphalt and 12 on gravel rallies. For drivers in Rally4 and Rally5 cars, no more than 12 tyres can be used on asphalt or gravel.
ERC JUNIOR: REVAMPED STRUCTURE WITH NEW RALLY3 CLASS
A press release including details of a new headline class for Rally3 cars using Pirelli tyres as standard, plus details of the prize package on offer, will be issued separately.