wrc 2024 calendar explore

The WRC 2024 Calendar: Changes And Ways To Make It Better

The FIA World Rally Championship revealed the official version of the WRC 2024 calendar. The race calendar saved the number of the events – 13 rounds in the package but gained slight changes by adding a race in Latvia and a losing event in Mexico. Whether it became more ‘flat’ or vice versa, it took new thrills? Let’s explore.

The Traditional Start of the Season

The FIA WRC 2024 season starts with its abiding season opener, Rally Monte Carlo, in January; however, the kick-off is scheduled for a week later and launches on 25 January. Besides, the central hub switches to a more traditional city Gap, instead of the Monte Carlo harbour. 

The stunning atmosphere through the lights of Monte Carlo streets and tricky roads covered with ice will be a worthy beginning. 

A few weeks later, Rally Sweden traditionally takes over and starts on 15 February. Less ice but more snow and a lot of snow banks are what I expect from the second round in the calendar. At this point, traditions are ending, as the following Mexico withdrew from the schedule. 

1Monte Carlo Rally25-28 JanuaryAsphalt/Ice
2Rally Sweden15-18 FebruarySnow
3Safari Rally Kenya28-31 MarchGravel
4Croatia Rally18-21 April Asphalt
5Rally of Portugal9-12 MayGravel
6Rally Italy Sardinia30 May-2 JuneGravel
7Rally Poland27-30 JuneGravel
8Rally Latvia18-21 JulyGravel
9Rally Finland1-4 AugustGravel
10Acropolis Rally Greece5-8 SeptemberGravel
11Rally Chile26-29 SeptemberGravel
12Central Europe Rally31 October-3 NovemberAsphalt
13Rally Japan21-24 NovemberAsphalt

The Key Changes in the WRC 2024 Calendar

Safari’s Move

Thus, March is the traditional, even not for so long time, time for the authentic Rally Mexico. However, the colorful gravel round didn’t find its place in the schedule. Perhaps the event will be back, but it will happen no less after 2025. So the Safari Rally Kenya that set this slot is scheduled for 28-31 March. 

Is it bad or good? On its dates in June, Rally Safari surprised fans from time to time with its weather conditions. First, the rainfall added the drivers to the challenge. It was hard to pass the route, as most roads were blurring with the water. 

Secondly, it was the hot temperature. With reaching a +23 C average, driving at the wheel of a rally car became challenging. What is for the 2024 season? The weather in Kenya will be tougher in March, as the temperature is higher than in June and can hold for +30 C. 

At first look, it doesn’t seem a rational option, but on the other hand, it may bring new thrills that probably can make Safari Rally Kenya one of the best events in the WRC 2024 calendar. 

Gravel Loop

Croatia Rally takes the traditional slot. It starts on 18 April and opens the seven gravel-rounds loop. Whether there will be rain or sun, it doesn’t matter, as its asphalt roads are tricky in all circumstances. The round is challenging in terms of tire strategy and drivers’ skills. 

In the wake of Croatia, Rally Portugal and Rally Italy Sardinia take the dates 9-12 May and 30 May-2 June accordingly. Both are gravel rounds and interesting on their own. The event in Portugal is spectacular and includes its iconic jump at the Fafe stage. Besides, punctures are the primary issue drivers face. 

Rally Sardinia is one of the most technical rounds in the WRC calendar and requires the most skills from the drivers. It is the case when just driving fast is never enough. 

Back to the Roots

After the round in Italy, there are two significant stages in the WRC calendar 2024 races. The Rally Poland is the third oldest rally in the world! Its first appearance in the championship dates in 1921, while its last in the WRC was in 2017. So, after seven years, the round is back and starts on 27 June. What do we know about its new layout? Nothing, except it is gravel tricky roads, and Sébastien Ogier has the most victories here – two wins. Therefore, the unpredictable round is the dark horse of the WRC 2024 season, as the Safari Rally pretends to be one of the most exciting events on the calendar. 

The following Rally Latvia is the newcomer to the FIA World Rally Championship, which debuts on 18 July and replaces in this slot Rally Estonia. 

In fact, losing the Estonian stage in the calendar is a lack. Since its debut in 2020, the round has become a favorite among fans. Moreover, there is a significant fanbase in Estonia. Will it be back? It is unlikely because the stage is included in the FIA European Rally Championship calendar. 

However, in Latvia, they have to bring all the cards on the table to fill this gap. Moreover, it will be decisive. As for patterns, Rally Latvia will be a fast gravel round. It includes jumps and hairpins on the route. In some terms, I can compare the stage with the following Rally Finland. 

wrc calendar 2024 highlights
WRC Wales Rally GB (2019)” by Kyn Chung is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The Classical Finish of the Season

The following rounds remain their slots the same as in the 2023 calendar. Thus, the legendary Rally Finland traditionally starts on 1 August. With its fast-pacing route, big rally jumps, and fans crowds, it is the gold of the WRC 2024 calendar. 

Acropolis Rally Greece takes over a month later and is held from 5-8 September. No less exciting event is known for its challenging terrain, different surface, and tricky route. The round in Greece is the penultimate gravel stage, while Rally Chile completes the gravel loop. 

The Rally Chile fans see 26-29 September. The round pegged its slot after struggling. It was three years of absence before the event back to the WRC championship for 2023. The mix of terrain and diverse routes make the challenge a favorite among rally drivers. 

The debutante of the 2023 season, Central Europe Rally, remains in place and is scheduled for 31 October-3 November. Attending Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic for the weekend brought a fresh breath to the calendar. The fast-passing round opens the series of the last two asphalt events, while the following round in Japan closes the season.

Rally Japan took its almost traditional WRC season finisher’s title for a reason. The event provides different weather conditions, such as sun, rain, and snow. Moreover, holding the event near and at the Toyota Stadium gave the celebrating tone to the championship. Besides, the event makes significant sense for the participating Toyota Gazoo racing team because they race at their homelands. Rally Japan starts on 21 November.

Comparing the WRC 2024 with the Previous Schedules

There are eight gravel rallies, four asphalt events, and one snow round in the WRC 2024 calendar. However, compared with the previous years, the geography of its location was more extended. Thus, in the 2019 season, there were included races in Turkey, Spain, Great Britain, and Australia. Today, the WRC geography is less. 

wrc 2024 calendar highlights
WRC Rally de Catalunya (2019)” by Kyn Chung is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

How could the 2024 WRC Schedule be more exciting? 

However, whether the championship’ look became ‘flat?’ In some terms, yes. Traditionally, each round has to bring its own unique features, including varieties of terrain, culture, and weather conditions. The more authentic and iconic venues WRC has – the more exciting it is.

Today, I see the Promoter’s focus on the venues in Europe. On the other hand, they invest in the current locations, increasing the sport’s popularity, like it was made in Japan. It is neither bad nor good. 

Although, the attempts to extend the rally map still are. Thus, for the 2025 season, WRC has hopes for the events in Saudi Arabia and the United States, but these are just the plans. However, if the rally fans are happy with the rally in the USA, Saudi already has racing events, which are enough more than well for the location.

What Could Refresh The List? 

We think that adding iconic venues like Rally GB or Rally New Zealand is one of the ways. Among the options, there is a need for new destinations that may extend WRC geography more, like the debut of the Rally USA. Another option is to find new destinations, like China, Vietnam, India, and more. On the other hand, it requires extra costs and expensive logistic costs, resulting in the sport becoming more expensive, including its subscriptions, merchandise, and tickets. Therefore, the WRC has kept the middle between reducing costs and improving their events.