Home AutoSports FIA World Rally-Raid Championship and Cross-Country Bajas calendars for 2023 unveiled

FIA World Rally-Raid Championship and Cross-Country Bajas calendars for 2023 unveiled

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FIA World Rally-Raid Championship and Cross-Country Bajas calendars for 2023 unveiled

– Five-rounds on next year’s W2RC schedule, including new rounds in Mexico and Argentina in April and September
– Revised calendar starts in January at the Dakar Rally and finishes at the Rallye du Maroc in October

The FIA World Motor Sport Council has approved on Wednesday 19 October the five-round 2023 FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) calendar, with the Sonora Rally in Mexico and Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina two new additions to the calendar.

After a successful inaugural season, the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship will head to North and South America for the first time in 2023, in addition to visiting two established events in the Middle East and a return to the traditional season finale at the Rallye du Maroc in North Africa.

The Dakar Rally is the global flagship event in cross-country rallying and it is fitting that the event kick-starts a second year of the series. The fourth edition of the event to be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia starts in the Red Sea port city of Yanbu on December 31st, 2022 and crosses the northern, central and south-eastern deserts of the vast kingdom, heading deep into the remote Empty Quarter, before finishing in Damman in the Eastern Province on January 15th, 2023.

The long-established Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge maintains its position as round two in the calendar in March 2023 and offers seasonally high temperatures and the challenge of the towering sand dunes of the remote deserts in the United Arab Emirates.

Competitors will then visit the Sonora Rally in Mexico for the first time in April 2023. The event has been popular with international enduro riders and American competitors in the past and will offer competitors the unique challenge of desert stages across the Sonoran Desert in northern Mexico.

The second welcome edition to the calendar is Argentina’s renowned Desafio Ruta 40 at the end of August/early September 2023. A former round of the Dakar Series, the event uses desert stages adjacent to Argentina’s Ruta Nacional 40. A recent edition ran between Tucumán and San Juan and utilised some of the most demanding terrain in northern and western Argentina.

The Rallye du Maroc returns to its position as the final round of the premier cross-country series. The 2022 edition visited the southern deserts around Tan Tan and Laâyoune for the first time in several years and offers the unique challenge of demanding dunes, rocky terrain and perilous navigation.

Andrew Wheatley, FIA Rally Director, said: “Cross-country rallying is a fast-growing motor sporting discipline and we have been delighted by the success of the inaugural FIA World Rally-Raid Championship. A.S.O. is an experienced promoter and it was a very positive step to bring the Dakar Rally into the series as the first round of the championship. The 2023 calendar will offer its own unique challenges to competitors, with demanding terrain for drivers and tricky navigation for co-drivers. We are also encouraged by the interest in smaller Baja-type events from different countries and are excited to announce revisions to the three FIA Baja championship that run as support and feeder series to the W2RC.”

David Castera, A.S.O. Motor Sports Director, said: “As we bring down the curtain on the inaugural season of the W2RC, which struck gold from its first edition with a long-running series of high-stakes duels, we are thrilled to welcome new organisers that will make the circuit even more balanced and consistent. Expanding the event to include the Sonora Rally in Mexico and the Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina will inspire the globetrotter inside every rally-raid fan and competitor. The rich tapestry of landscapes will also provide opportunities for all sorts of talent to shine… Rally-raid drivers, co-drivers and riders are in for a sensational pitched battle from January to October.”

The FIA has also confirmed the three bajas calendars for 2023. There are several date switches in the eight-round FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas and the Baja Northern Forest event is replaced by the Qatar International Baja. The season begins with the Saudi Baja and the new event in Qatar in February and March, before heading to Europe for four traditional rounds in Italy, Spain, Poland and Portugal. The Jordan Baja has moved from February to a date in early November and the season finishes in Dubai in December.

 

2023 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas

Date

Country

Event

02-04 February 2023

Saudi Arabia

 Saudi Baja

16-18 March 2023

Qatar

 Qatar International Baja

06-09 July 2023

Italy

 Italian Baja

20-23 July 2023

Spain

 Baja España Aragón

24-27 August 2023

Poland

 Baja Poland

26-28 October 2023

Portugal

 37ª Baja Portalegre

2-4 November 2023

Jordan

 Jordan Baja

1-3 December 2023

UAE

 Dubai International Baja

 

The FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas retains its five-round format and the opening two rounds remain in Spain and Greece. But the Italian Baja and Baja Poland are replaced by Portugal’s Baja TT Sharish Reguengos Mourão in September and Turkey’s Baja Troia. The Hungarian Baja retains its traditional August date and will be round three of the series.

 

2023 FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas

Date

Country

Event

14-16 April 2023

Spain

Baja TT Dehesa Extremadura

17-20 May 2023

Greece

10th Rally Greece OffRoad

03-06 August 2023

Hungary

XX. Hungarian Baja

22-24 September 2023

Portugal

Baja TT Sharish Reguengos Mourão

TBA

Turkey

Baja Troia

 

The FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas has been extended from four to six rounds. The Saudi Baja switches to a February date and will be followed by Bajas in Qatar, Turkey and Jordan. An addition to the calendar will be a new Baja in Kuwait in November and the finale in Dubai in December.

 

2023 FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas

Date

Country

Event

02-04 February 2023

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Baja

16-18 March 2023

Qatar

Qatar International Baja

02-04 November 2023

Jordan

Jordan Baja

23-25 November 2023

Kuwait

Baja Kuwait

1-3 December 2023

UAE

Dubai International Baja

TBA

Turkey

Baja Troia

 

Note: Calendars are subject to ASN confirmation

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