Route Preview: Rally Monte Carlo 2023

Last year Rally Monte Carlo relocated to Monaco instead of having the service and most of the stages around Gap. This resulted in lots of new roads compared to the previous years and slight character change among that. However, this year most of the route is familiar from last year as well as partially from the past previous few years, at most with just some slight changes.

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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: Acropolis Rally Greece 2022

Acropolis returned onto WRC last year for the first time since 2013. Previously known as a rough car-breaker event, the event is now generally smoother with many roads having been repaired – but there are still more or less rough sections as well. This year’s route is similar to last year but there are five new stages and a couple reversed and modified from last year. There’s less single runs than last year but still more than most rallies offer.

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Route Preview: Ypres Rally Belgium 2022

Ypres is a classic tarmac rally which got itself a WRC slot for 2021 and is back this year replacing Rally GB. This year the route revolves completely around Ypres instead of finishing at Spa, but only two stages are the same as last year. Ypres has a very distinct character of narrow tarmac roads with numerous junction turns and surface changes, as well as big ditches on the sides of the road and possibility make big cuts. The stages are also situated very close to each other and the service park, resulting in very short liaisons.

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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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