Countries with multiple WRC locations

Over the 50 year history of WRC, the series has visited 35 countries, but already 16 of them have hosted multiple rallies on WRC level, or had their national WRC event in separate locations. Let’s look at them in greater detail.

Cover image by espinya / Panoramio, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

First, let’s quickly recap the countries whose WRC event has hardly moved at all, and have been permanent enough to be included in the series more than 10 times. Mexico, Deutschland and Monte Carlo are clearest examples of rallies which have been run always on more or less on the same area – most in the case of Mexico and least in the case of Monte. Also the African rallies Safari and Ivory Coast have been driven always roughly in the same region, but the covered area has been vast, and especially the later editions of Safari have used only a small amount of that, with the 2020’s editions having barely anything in common with the earlier ones.

But now it’s time to get to the topic at hand – countries with multiple WRC locations – in chronological order of the first occurrence of a second location.


Rideau Lakes 1974 (1)
Quebec 1977-1979 (3)

We start with something that probably most readers didn’t expect or even remember them ever being featured in the WRC – Canada. In the middle of the international oil crisis in 1974 with even Monte Carlo, Sweden and Acropolis cancelled, Canada arranged a new rally in Rideau Lakes – midway between Toronto and Montreal – which eventually remained to be arranged only once due to financial problems.

A new Canadian WRC event was run in Quebec from 1977 to 1979. However, it got removed from the calendar likely due to politics in FISA and new non-European events such as Argentina and Ivory Coast being added onto the calendar.

New Zealand

North Island 1977-1979, 1981- (31)
South Island 1980 (1)

New Zealand is best known for the roads on North island but there is one exception: in 1980 the rally was run on the South island. The roads, stages and challenges were a bit different including long straights, water splashes and motor circuit super specials.


Tucuman 1980-1981, 1992-1993 (4)
Bariloche 1983 (1)
Cordoba 1984-1991, 1994-2019 (33)

Rally Argentina debuted as Rally Codasur from 1980 to 1981, based in Tucuman, Northern Argentina. After a year off the event was retitled as Rally Argentina in 1983, and relocated South to Bariloche. However, this resulted in very fast stages – most notably Stig Blomqvist’s 189 km/h of average speed (equal to current cars’ top speed!) on SS1 –  but also wet or even snowy conditions without studded tyres.

Already the following year the currently known base in Cordoba was found. However, in 1992 the event was again run from Tucuman. In 1993 the start was from Tucuman with most stages closer to Cordoba.


Press-on-Regardless 1973-1974 (2)
Olympus 1986-1988 (3)

The Press-On-Regardless rally arranged in Detroit was a part of the first WRC season in 1973 and continued for a second year, but got dropped subsequently after some bad organizing skills.

USA returned into WRC in 1986 with the Olympus rally in the Washington state – 2500 km West from Detroit! However, it was again short-lived as Olympus was run only three times with few factory entries.

Currently USA is arranging a candidate event in Chattanooga, Tennesee, to be featured on the 2024 WRC calendar. It would be the third location for a WRC event in the country, 1100 km from Detroit and 3300 km from Olympia!


York/Bath/Birmingham/Chester/Notthingham/Harrogate 1973-1995
Cheltenham 1997-1999
Cardiff/Builth Wells 2000-2012

Deeside/Llandundo 2013-2019

This is a bit tricky entry, since basically Wales Rally GB is a subset of RAC which in turn went around the whole country with annually changing start, rest halt and finish cities. But then again, in RAC 1990 the Welsh stages were completely absent, leaving nothing in common with Wales Rally GB. Furthermore, from 1997 to 2012 (except the opening day 2011) all the forest stages were run in South Wales and from 2013 onwards in North Wales, making it another location change within the history of Wales Rally GB. There’s a difference between the wider and more flowing Southern stages as opposed to the narrower and more angular stages of the North.


Sanremo (tarmac/mixed) 1973-2003 (29)
Sardinia (gravel) 2004- (19)
Monza (tarmac) 2020-2021 (2)

Italy stands out as a country with two very persistent WRC events – the only country to have two different rallies run more than seven times, with its long-time events included in the WRC calendar 19 and 29 times! Italy’s also one of the two countries to host two rallies in the same season, and one of the two to host both gravel and tarmac rallies in its history – as well as a mixed surface one!

Sanremo was the original Italian WRC event, run first in the mountain roads near Sanremo, being partly gravel, making it a mixed surface event. A few years later with roads being paved it became all tarmac, but in 1979 the event was expanded to include gravel stages in Tuscan, behind a long liaison.

New rules in 1997 banned mixed surface events and tightened the itineraries, making the event focus again on the tarmac roads near Sanremo, with stages run multiple times. In turn, this lead to problems with too many spectators packing into the same stages.

In 2004 the Italian WRC event was handed over to the narrow gravel roads of Sardinia. And as if that was not enough, the shortened Covid-19 era seasons 2020 and 2021 were filled up with Rally Monza (in addition to Sardinia), with some tarmac stages in the Lombardian mountains in addition to numerous long super specials on and around the Monza circuit.

These three events are quite different, but all contain very narrow and sinuous roads, as well as a some sort of mixed surface element, since Sardinian gravel stages have often tarmac sections and Monza had gravel sections on the circuit service and park roads. Still, it’s almost impossible to think of a “Rally Italy” when the country has arranged three such different events.


Costa Brava 1991-2004 (13)
Costa Daurada 2005-2022 (17)

Rally Catalunya entered WRC in 1991 as a new mixed-surface event run from Lloret the Mar, in Costa Brava. Two days were run on gravel and two on tarmac.

In 1993 and onwards the gravel stages were replaced with a leg of tarmac stages going South-West into Costa Daurada. With tighter service park rules a few years later there was no more possibility travel through special stages so the cars had to take a long liaison to a remote service park and a loop of Costa Daurada stages. That long liaison was eventually cut off leaving just Costa Brava tarmac stages until 2005 when the whole event moved over to Costa Daurada, the city of Salou.

Mixed surface rallies were allowed in the rules again from 2009 and already in 2010 the event was run again as mixed surface, now with new gravel stages in Costa Daurada. However, mixed surface events were banned again, making the event go back to full tarmac in 2021 and eventually dropped from the 2023 calendar


Athens/Lamia/Corinth/etc 1973- (40)

Another questionable entry, similarly to RAC/Wales. Acropolis has almost always started in Athens, going North up to Kalambaka and West to the Peloponneasian peninsula sometimes omitting certain areas or in the longest editions, using them all. From the late 80’s onwards the rally has mostly revolved between the cities Athens, Lamia and Corinth.

Why the event is listed here is that the 2005 and 2006 editions – arranged around Lamia and Athens, respectively – share exactly no kilometres between them. Same kind of nullifying diffs can be also made from other years such as the 1996-1998 events run between Lamia and Itea as opposed the 2013 rally exclusively around Corinth.

So, basically Acropolis has always been run in the same area, but has also been run in smaller sub-areas completely separate from each other.


Lisboa/Matoshinhos/Figueira da Foz/etc 1973-2001, 2015- (34)
Faro 2007-2014 (8)

Portugal has been traditionally a bit different rally to many others, starting from one city, going to rest halt to a second one and maybe finishing in third one. But despite start locations, the stages have mostly been run in the same area, including classics like Fafe and Arganil.

Portugal started as a mixed surface rally with more gravel than tarmac. The fast and crowded Sintra area tarmac stages initiated or concluded the event from 1975 to 1986. In addition to that the rally would typically move Northwards through some tarmac stages to the gravel roads of the Porto area. However, the. mixed surface element was always present with some tarmac sections on the gravel stages or even a full tarmac stage within a gravel loop! The tarmac stages were finally dropped for good in 1995, although some short bits of tarmac often feature still on the stages.

Portugal was dropped from the calendar after 2001, but returned for the 2007 season in an alternate location, down South in Faro, sharing nothing with the earlier editions. However, the character of the stages doesn’t seem to differ much from the Northern stages, being a quite fast and only moderately rough technical gravel rally.

In 2015 the rally returned to Matoshinhos, using the same stages as 2001 and before, but on a smaller area, due to changed regulations.


Obihiro (gravel) (2004-2007) (4)
Sapporo (gravel) 2008, 2010 (2)
Toyota City (tarmac) 2022- (1)

Japan is the most disparate country when it comes to WRC history. The original gravel event changed its location from Obihiro to Sapporo in 2008, meaning all stages were completely new. However, a bigger change occurred in 2022 (after two years of cancellations) when the event changed into a tarmac rally on a different island, making it one of the two countries to have hosted both gravel and tarmac rallies.


Krakow 1973 (1)
Mikolaji 2009, 2014-2017 (5)

Rally Poland was one of the original rallies of WRC in 1973, arranged in Southern Poland with Krakow as its center. The event was back then quite crudely organized with very tight liaison times resulting in only three cars getting through the route. Some of the special stages were also poorly closed from public traffic. The event was instantly dropped from the WRC calendar, remaining as an ERC staple (eventually turning into a tarmac event).

Rally Poland returned in 2009 with a new location in in the North operating from the town of Mikolaji. 2009 was a one-off, but the event returned in 2014 for a four year stint before being dropped again back to ERC due to problems with spectator control and for example a fire engine going opposite direction into a live stage.


Perth 1989-2005 (17)
Kingscliff 2009 (1)
New South Wales 2011-2019 (7)

Australia entered the WRC in 1989, basically replacing USA’s Rally Olympus. The event was based in West of Australia, in the city of Perth and became known for its slippery gravel roads with trees close by as well as big jumps.

However, in 2006 with financial problems the event had to start looking for funding from the other side of the country, and a new home was found for the 2009 season from the town of Kingscliff on the East coast, a bit south from Brisbane. These stages were really fast and with other issues the rally had to find a new location again.

The third version of Rally Australia was run further South on the East Coast, from the city of Coffs Harbour, where the event became a staple from 2011 to 2019. Sadly the last edition was canceled because of forest fires and subsequently the event was dropped from the calendar.

As of late, there has been talk of Rally Australia returning in 2025, now on the center of the South coast, in Adelaide. That would be the fourth location for WRC Rally Australia.


Kemer 2003-2008 (5)
Istanbul 2010 (1)
Marmaris 2018-2020 (3)

Rally Turkey is known as a tough, slow and car-breaking gravel rally. But during its nine editions the event has been run in three locations quite far from each other. Curiously the Kemer and Marmaris roads were quite similar, fitting the description, but the 2010 event in Istanbul was fast-flowing with jumps and lengthy tarmac sections!


Tour de Corse 1973-2008, 2015-2019 (40)
Alsace 2010-2014 (5)

In addition to the island rally of Tour de Corse, France has hosted five WRC rounds on mainland in Alsace. The two rallies are quite different in character. Alsace has more in common with Rally Deutschland, which is actually arranged just behind the border. At some point there was actually plans to combine these events to have a slot for both Germany and France in the calendar.


Jyväskylä 1973- (48)
Rovaniemi 2021 (1)

In terms of Rally Finland of Jyväskylä – or 1000 Lakes Rally – the start and finish of the event has always been in Jyväskylä. However, Finland is on this list thanks to Arctic Rally Finland 2021 which was arranged in Rovaniemi as a replacement to Covid-19-stricken Rally Sweden – and thus could be also placed in the continuum of Rally Sweden. But as a result, Finland became one of the two countries to host two rallies in the same season.


Karlstad 1973-2020 (44)
Umeå 2022- (2)

Historically Rally Sweden was always arranged in the county of Värmland and city of Karlstad, until 2020. Already the 1990 event was canceled because of lack of snow, and the issue was rectified with more stages towards North in the subsequent years. However, 2020 was another disaster with more than half of the stages canceled. Finally in 2022 the rally was moved higher North to Umeå, to ensure enough snowy conditions. Although both locations offer fast snowy stages, the ones in Umeå are faster with longer straights and more rural locations.

Close call

Rally China was supposed to be run in 2016 as a tarmac rally, but the event was canceled due to floods destroying roads. However, curiously the rally would have been arranged in the same area, even partially on the same roads!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s