Last season’s championship, won by Tom Kristensson, featured only four fixtures due to pandemic challenges. The 2021 series will be restored to five, only one of which featured in 2020, with two on dirt roads and three on sealed surfaces.
Croatia, a newcomer to the FIA World Rally Championship, opens the series on 22 - 25 April. Few drivers will have knowledge of the asphalt roads near Zagreb, providing a tough opening encounter.
Technical and tricky gravel roads of Portugal (20 - 23 May) follow before the season reaches its midpoint on the crests and jumps of Estonia’s sweeping dirt tracks on 15 - 18 July.
Video: ACI Rally Monza Junior WRC review
It’s back to asphalt on 13 - 15 August as the series visits Belgium for the first time. The finale takes place on 14 - 17 October in Spain, which will also be asphalt after many years as a mixed surface encounter.
Crews will again drive Ford Fiesta Rally4 cars, equipped with Pirelli tyres. Drivers will count their best four results and those who have competed on at least three rounds previously will be eligible for double points at the final fixture. Stage win bonus points will again be on offer.
FIA Junior WRC team director Maciej Woda said the calendar offered a good variety of rallies.
“I think all five rounds will require a different set of skills to master which is very important for the championship to rigorously test all of our drivers and find out who really has got the talent,” he explained.
“No two rounds are the same which is an exciting prospect and should really shake things up for the championship.”
Woda said organisers had ensured a reasonable gap between 2020’s final round in mid-December and the opening round of 2021 to allow competitors to ready themselves.
“Normally the Junior WRC Championship concludes in September or October and it allows the championship and crews a healthy amount of time to prepare and confirm plans for the following season.
“From speaking with all interested crews, and the late conclusion of the 2020 season, we made sure to provide interested crews the time needed to put their 2021 programme and plans together,” he added.
Details of the prize package will be announced shortly.