Amazing Azores set for FIA ERC 2021 opener
*Mid-Atlantic archipelago spectacular hosts new season kick-off in May
*Gravel event takes planned date of Rally Islas Canarias, which now hosts November title decider *European newcomer Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras switches from March to September
*Calendar reshuffle sensible course of action in response to COVID-19 pandemic
The upcoming FIA European Rally Championship season will begin with the 55thAzores Rallye from May 6-8 following changes to the 2021 calendar in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ERC promoter Eurosport Events has worked in close collaboration with the FIA, motorsport’s world governing body, and the organisers of three rounds of the European championship affected by the changes to prepare an adjusted calendar, which has been approved by FIA World Motor Sport Council.
As well as a new date for the 55th Azores Rallye, which takes the calendar slot of Rally Islas Canarias to minimise disruption for drivers, teams, broadcasters and the national ASN, the planned season-opening Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras is now scheduled to take place from September 24-26. Rally Islas Canarias moves from May to November 18-20, when it’s set to host the deciding eighth round of the year.
The planned ERC Junior, Abarth Rally Cup and Clio Cup by Toksport WRT schedules have all been tweaked accordingly but the number of rounds counting for each competition are unchanged.
FIA European Rally Championship 2021 revised calendar
Round 1: 55th Azores Rallye (Gravel), May 6-8, 2021 C
Round 2: 77th Rally Poland (Gravel), June 18-20, 2021 J, A, C
Round 3: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel), July 1-3, 2021 J, A
Round 4: Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy, asphalt), July 23-25, 2021 J, A, C
Round 5: 50th Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Asphalt), August 27-29, 2021 J, A, C
Round 6: Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras (Portugal, gravel), September 24-26, 2021
Round 7: Rally Hungary (Asphalt), October 22-24, 2021 J, A, C
Round 8: Rally Islas Canarias (Asphalt), November 18-20, 2021 J, A
J = ERC Junior/ERC3 Junior round; Abarth Rally Cup round; Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT round
Jean-Baptiste Ley, ERC Co-ordinator, Eurosport Events: “Everything possible was done to maintain the original calendar and avoid the inconvenience of changing dates. But as well as the need to help safeguard the health and safety of all, from monitoring the evolution of the pandemic and taking into account the issues organisers are encountering trying to plan events in the midst of national lockdowns, delaying the start to the season and running some events later in the year is the only course of action.
“Despite considerable effort, preserving the planned back-to-back event configuration for Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras and the 55th Azores Rallye is unfortunately not possible this year, although the logistical support available for teams contesting the Azores Rallye remains in place and the Azores Rallye is a very worthy host for the opening event of the season. And by taking over the original date of Rally Islas Canarias we hope to minimise disruption to drivers, teams and broadcasters. The date was also a vacant slot for Portuguese ASN, FPAK, and its national and local championships. For Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras, it’s a case of good things come to those who wait.
“Meanwhile, the organisers of Rally Islas Canarias delivered a fantastic season-finale last November, despite all the constraints brought about by COVID-19, and we have every faith in them delivering an even better event in 2021.”