World Rally Championship 2018
Rallying is a breathtaking - when you actually see the speeds achieved on the daunting terrains, it really does make you appreciate the awesome skill of the drivers. It can be difficult to access some of the best vantage points but in recent times, the improved organisation, helicopter travel and the growth of on-site hospitality make it a very viable motor sport option.
The 13-round calendar marks the return of Turkey after a seven-year absence, replacing Poland in the fixture list. Marmaris is a stylish Mediterranean resort along the Turkish Riviera. It sits in a valley between pine-forested mountains and the sea and is a popular sailing destination and beach holiday location.
The championship begins with the traditional season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo in January and features a mix of gravel, asphalt, snow and ice action across four continents to find the world’s best all-round driver.
The World Rally Championship (WRC) has always been one of the most demanding and challenging motor sport disciplines. There are already millions of fans hooked to World Rally - spellbound by the world's greatest drivers doing battle in some of the harshest environments in the world. The World Rally Championship is the world's biggest live spectator sports and offers a real buzz watching the event live. The whole atmosphere is informal and fun - and there is great viewing access, standing only feet away from the cars.
2018 Provisional FIA World Rally Championship Calendar
Some of our previous tours below have proved to be as good as you get.....some details are still to be finalised and will be updated as they become available.
On Site Rally can offer hotels, hospitality and ground transportation to any of the WRC rallies in 2018. All our tours can be guided by experienced rally personnel. We endeavour to access rally stages that are considered to offer the finest in rally spectating. To do this, we operate only small mpvs to allow ease of access.
Rallye Monte-Carlo is the WRC’s jewel in the crown and the oldest in the calendar.First run in 1911, it was designed to promote Monte-Carlo as a tourist destination, with competitors starting from different European cities before gathering in Monaco. The 1966 rally became famed for its controversial outcome when giant-killing Mini Coopers claimed the top three places before being disqualified for alleged infringements of headlight regulations.
Essentially an asphalt rally but unpredictable mountain weather brings varied conditions. Competitors must expect snow, ice and dry asphalt - often encountering all in the same stage. They must balance the need for grip in winter weather with that required for dry asphalt. Shrewd tyre selection providing the best compromise for frequently changing conditions is key. Experience and the ability to ‘read’ conditions is vital.
First run in 1950 when it was called the Rally to the Midnight Sun as it was held in summer. It became a winter event in 1965. It featured in the inaugural championship in 1973 and has been dominated by Scandinavians, who won every year until 2004 when Sébastien Loeb broke the mould. Sébastien Ogier is the only other ‘outsider’ to win.
The only true winter round - a classic Rally Sweden will be characterised by frozen roads lined with snow banks. Drivers ‘lean’ cars against the banks to guide them round corners. But in warmer temperatures the banks disintegrate on impact and cars can become stuck in the snow. Studded tyres are essential and provide remarkable grip but drivers must acclimatise to the ‘floating’ feeling and different braking points. When temperatures hover around freezing, the studs tear up the road surface and exposed gravel rips them from the tyres to leave little traction. Outdoor servicing in temperatures as low as -25°C makes normally routine jobs slower and tricky for gloved mechanics.
Also, see Swedish Ice Driving
First held in 1967 and one of the founding events in the inaugural 1973 WRC. Initially a mixed surface rally, it switched to a pure gravel format but lost its place in the calendar after bad weather ruined the 2001 event. Organisers moved from the north to the Algarve holiday region in the south and it regained its place in 2007. Moved back to the north in 2015. Named ‘Best Rally in the World’ on five occasions.
Sandy roads ensure grip is at a premium for the early starters during the first pass through the stages. Rocks and deep ruts present an altogether different hazard for the second pass, often requiring teams to raise the ride height on their cars to avoid mechanical damage.
Italy’s WRC counter was formerly a mixed surface event based in Sanremo, and known as the Rally of the Flowers when it was first held in 1928. It formed part of the WRC from the championship’s beginning in 1973. Michèle Mouton became the first and only woman to win a WRC round when she triumphed in 1981. The rally moved to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia in 2004.
Fast but narrow roads lined with bushes, trees or rocks right on the edge leave no room for error. Hard base roads covered by a sandy surface, which is swept away during the first pass to leave rougher and rutted conditions for the second run. Thin layer of slippery gravel on the surface disadvantages early starters in the opening leg. Temperatures approach 30°C so it will be uncomfortable in the cars with higher than normal stress on engines and transmissions.
Dates back to 1951 when it was launched as a means of deciding the Finnish entries for Rallye Monte-Carlo. It took on the name 1000 Lakes Rally and was included in the calendar for the WRC in its first year in 1973. It has been dominated by Finnish drivers who have won 54 of the 66 editions. The 2016 edition was the fastest rally in WRC history. Kris Meeke won at an average speed of 126.62kph.
Sisu is a Finnish word that loosely translates into English as ‘having guts'. On the flat-out, tree-lined straights, endless yumps and blind crests of Rally Finland, drivers will need plenty of ‘sisu' if they are to stand a chance of winning one of the World Rally Championship's most famous events.
Known affectionately as the Finnish Grand Prix, the rally turns the student city of Jyvaskyla into a motorsport Mecca on the first weekend of August as fans converge in their tens of thousands to savour the dramatic action on the compacted gravel stages and lap up the party atmosphere.
Mix of hard, wide roads with narrower more technical sections. Flat out from start to finish. It is affectionately known as the Finnish Grand Prix and nine of the 10 fastest WRC rallies have been here. Blind crests often hide corners and it’s vital to position the car correctly before take-off to ensure maximum speed through the bend. Speeds are so high that time differences are small and there is little opportunity to regain time after a mistake. One of the hardest rallies for co-drivers as high speeds demand a constant, pinpoint accurate delivery of pace notes. Marcus Gronholm, a seven-time Neste Oil Rally Finland winner, famously said: “You need courage but the pace notes have to be perfect because they tell you where to place the car on the road before taking off flat-out over a blind crest. You have to have maximum trust and faith in your co-driver.”
First held in 1982, the rally was part of the European Championship. It relocated to Trier in 2000 and joined WRC in 2002. Citroën won every Rallye Deutschland since it entered WRC until 2014. Sébastien Loeb took nine victories, with one each for Sébastien Ogier and Dani Sordo until Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville topped the podium in 2014.
Viewed as the most difficult of the end-of-season asphalt encounters. Working efficiently with safety note crews, who drive the stages ahead of competitors, to have up-to-date information about road surface and weather. Unpredictable weather in the hills makes tyre choice tricky. Avoiding huge car-breaking kerb stones, known as hinkelsteins, in Baumholder. Baumholder is slippery in the dry and treacherous in the wet.
France’s WRC round was held on the stunning island of Corsica from 1973 to 2008. Never-ending sequences of turns earned the event the nickname ‘The Rally of 10,000 Corners’. After a year’s absence due to rotation, the rally moved to the Alsace region of the French mainland in 2010, before returning to Corsica in 2015.
Tight and twisty mountain roads are often bordered on one side by a rock face and on the other by a steep drop into the sea. Rough and abrasive asphalt places high demands on tyres. Many crews have not previously tackled the rally so must write all-new pace notes. Narrow roads mean errors can be punished heavily.
First run in 1957 and included in the European Championship from 1975. Entered the WRC in 1991 when it was based on the Costa Brava in Lloret de Mar. Relocated to Salou in 2002 and after being a pure asphalt event, it developed into a mixed surface event in 2010.
Only mixed surface round of the season as two days of asphalt are blended with a day of primarily gravel. After the first full day teams convert their cars from gravel to asphalt specification in a longer than usual evening service to accommodate the surface change. Drivers must quickly adapt their driving style to an overnight change in road surface. Fast, smooth, sweeping asphalt is comparable to a race circuit in its characteristics.