2023 WRC Calendar Thoughts

The 2023 WRC calendar was finally published in late November, already after the 2022 season had ended. There’s only a few changes and we could say it’s now back to usual after a couple of exceptional years. And once again the calendar is 13 events long instead of 14.

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Route Preview: Rally Japan 2022

Rally Japan has featured on WRC before but in a different location and surface. The gravel stages of Hokkaido have been exchanged for tarmac roads of Honshu. The stages alternate between narrow and sinuous forest roads and wide racing circuit like main roads but in overall they are very sinuous and slow. There’s resemblance to Sanremo, Catalunya, Deutschland and Croatia. It seems there’s very few places to cut corners, resulting likely in less polluted road. Some of the roads also remind me of 80/90’s video games, possibly because they were Japanese! In any case it seems like a very interesting rally with an unique character!

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Route Preview: Rally New Zealand 2022

Rally New Zealand returns to the WRC after a full decade off the calendar, meaning it’s a new rally for most of the drivers. The roads are called often “gravel highways” but it refers only to the smoothness, as the undulating and cambered roads are definitely not as boring as straight highways! Friday contains over half of the rally and is packed with long classic stages, while shorter and less known tests feature on Saturday and Sunday. For this special occasion we’re joined by local WRC driver Hayden Paddon, sharing his knowledge about the stages.

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Route Preview: Rally Finland 2022

Rally Finland returns to full length and its normal calendar slot. Half of the route is reused from last year with about a third completely new or dusted off from the archives. The stages consist again largely of smaller roads, but especially on Friday they are very fast, and surprisingly void of jumps. There’s also a new shakedown and changes on the Harju super special.

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Route Preview: Safari Rally 2022

Safari Rally returned onto WRC last year and is here to stay. It’s still different to all other events with unique terrain and high contrasts of fast and slow sections, although not as wild and long as in the past decades. However, this year Safari will likely be the longest rally of the season with 363 stage kilometres. Almost all stages are changed at least a bit from last year. We could also expect the rally to be quicker with two of the slowest stages removed and replaced with ones run on actual roads as opposed to off-road tracks.

Read More Route Preview: Safari Rally 2022