"MONTALEGRE RETURNS ON REVISED CALENDAR"
The FIA World Rallycross Championship has today (12 May) issued a revised schedule for its 2021 campaign, which will now begin in Barcelona and incorporate eight rounds across seven events throughout Europe, concluding at Montalegre in Portugal.
The challenges of the ongoing pandemic have required Rallycross Promoter GmbH to adopt a flexible and agile approach to respond to an ever-changing global situation. Following close consultation with event organisers and the relevant authorities in each of the host countries, an updated calendar has been put together that not only visits some of the best rallycross tracks in the world, but also maximises the likelihood of welcoming fans on-site where possible.
The action will begin in Spain at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on 23-24 July, with a Friday/Saturday evening format for the season curtain-raiser. This will be followed in quick succession by a double-header at Germany’s Nürburgring (31 July – 1 August), nestled in the forests of the Eifel mountains. A new addition to the World RX schedule, the rallycross track will be based around the Müllenbachschleife amphitheatre section of the illustrious circuit.
The racing will then move on to one of the discipline’s most iconic venues – Höljes in Sweden on 20-22 August. Originally slated to take place seven weeks earlier, the event has been delayed in the hope of being able to accommodate a limited number of fans. Two weeks later, the championship will travel to another rallycross favourite – Lohéac in France on 3-5 September.
The next stop will be in Latvia at Riga’s Biķernieki National Sports base on 18-19 September, before drivers and teams go wheel-to-wheel at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 9-10 October. The legendary Ardennes circuit staged its inaugural World RX race weekend in 2019, immediately winning the hearts of competitors and fans alike.
The final round of the campaign will take place on 23-24 October at Portugal’s historic Montalegre track, located high up in the Vila Real mountains. A staple on the World Championship calendar from 2014 to 2018, Montalegre – whose undulating layout and unpredictable weather has produced many breathtaking battles over the years – makes a welcome return this season.
Montalegre replaces Hell in Norway, which has unfortunately had to be cancelled this season. Earnest efforts were made by all parties to reach a resolution, but strict border restrictions and the lack of a suitable alternative date made it impossible to hold the event in 2021.
Arne Dirks, Executive Director, Rallycross Promoter GmbH, said:
“We all acknowledge the positive trend over the summer of the pandemic in Europe. That’s why, after having liaised closely with our key stakeholders, we have taken the deliberate decision to delay the start of the campaign in the hope of being able to open the gates to fans at as many rounds as is feasible and safe, and have assembled what we believe is an irresistible blend of iconic rallycross tracks and state-of-the-art modern venues. We are confident we now have the best possible World RX calendar for 2021.
“To be able to confirm the return of Montalegre – a circuit that has always been a fan-favourite and never fails to offer World RX a warm welcome – is fantastic news for all concerned, and whilst we are obviously disappointed not to be able to race in Norway this year due to ongoing complications related to the pandemic, we are sure we will see Hell back on the calendar in the future as World RX races into a bright new era.”
Gyarfas Olah, FIA Off-Road Commission President, said:
“We are confident we now have the final shape of the 2021 World RX calendar, and we would like to thank the promoter and the organisers for their flexibility and reactivity in these pandemic circumstances. We are pleased to include Montalegre for the finale in a compelling blend of traditional and contemporary venues for 2021.”
Morgan Östlund, General Manager of Höljes RX, said:
“Höljes is one of the world’s most famous rallycross tracks, and we are delighted that we will once again host some of the world’s very best drivers this summer. With regard to the date change, considering that the fans are such a major part of what makes this event so special, together with Rallycross Promoter, we have decided to move the event back by a few weeks in the hope of being able to welcome at least some of them trackside – although there are obviously no guarantees given the current situation and all the associated unknowns. Either way, we are looking forward to a truly spectacular weekend of world-class rallycross entertainment.”
Orlando Alves, Mayor of Montalegre, said:
“We are delighted and honoured to be in the 2021 World RX calendar. This return to the schedule is recognition of the quality of the Montalegre Circuit, the work and effort of the Municipality and the respect and prestige our organisation, which is among the highest authorities in the rallycross and motorsport world. We look forward to welcoming you all in October!”
The new FIA RX2e Championship – the first-ever FIA electric rallycross championship – will join World RX in Spain, Germany, Sweden, France and Belgium, with Euro RX1 featuring on the bill in Sweden, France, Latvia and Belgium. Euro RX3 will contest the events in Spain, Sweden, France, Belgium and Portugal.
The entry closing date for permanent competitors in the World Championship is 14 May. For permanent competitors in RX2e, Euro RX1 and Euro RX3, entries close on 30 May.