Saturday, July 20, 2024

2024 W2RC calendar revealed

Season 3 of the World Rally-Raid Championship will be mostly familiar, but the only change is especially major as the midseason point stays on the opposite side of the Atlantic. On Thursday, the Amaury Sport Organisation, jointly approved the 2024 schedule with sanctioning bodies FIA and FIM.

The lone difference from 2023 lies in the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Transibérico replacing the Sonora Rally as the third round. After hosting the championship in April, the Sonora Rally announced its withdrawal from the W2RC in July to focus on domestic competitors without being overshadowed by the international series.

A race on the Iberian Peninsula in Portugal and Spain was first revealed by ASO director David Castera in June. The peninsula previously held the Andalucía Rally that closed out the inaugural W2RC season in 2022 but was dropped for 2023. The previous iteration of the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Transibérico, the Transibérico Rally, was part of W2RC predecessor World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies in the 1990s and 2000s. It will be the first W2RC race in multiple countries and the first FIA rally raid to do so since the World Cup’s 2021 Silk Way Rally.

Asides from the swap, the other four rounds return from 2023 beginning with the Dakar Rally on 5–19 January, which remains in Saudi Arabia for a fifth year. Sixty percent of the 2024 route will go through new locations. While Saudi Arabia will continue as the Dakar host until 2029, the ASO has not ruled out crossing over into neighbouring countries in the future.

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, founded by FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem in 1991, has been part of the World Cup and W2RC since 1993. Like in 2023, the ADDC will have a late February start before ending in March.

After the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Transibérico in April, the championship will conduct its lone race in the Americas at the Desafío Ruta 40 on 2–8 June. Held in Argentina, the DR 40 appears on the calendar for the second year in a row. It is also the only round with a date change as it is moved from late August to early June, meaning the four-month summer break now takes place after.

The Rallye du Maroc will once again be the season finale. It is used as a final dress rehearsal for teams running the following year’s Dakar Rally.

“The constant growth of the field this year shows just how successful this format has become,” said Castera. “The 2024 calendar will follow the same recipe, which blends tradition, continuity and innovation. Apart from the three major events of the sport, the theme of the current season has been the exploration of the Americas. This will continue next season, when the Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina, which is coming back from its hiatus this year, returns for a new edition.

“Mirroring its inaugural campaign, the W2RC will head to Europe, this time for the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Transibérico, a geographically closer and less expensive gateway to the sport for competitors, teams and fans from this continent, which remains the leading incubator of rally raids. This new event will make an impact in more ways than one because it runs through Portugal and Spain, two countries that stand out for their motor sports know-how and tradition. This time more than ever, the calendar will be a hit with rookies and veterans alike.”

2024 World Rally-Raid Championship schedule

# Race Country Date
1 Dakar Rally Saudi Arabia 5–19 January
2 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge United Arab Emirates 25 February – 2 March
3 BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Transibérico Portugal, Spain 2–7 April
4 Desafío Ruta 40 Argentina 2–8 June
5 Rallye du Maroc Morocco 5–11 October