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The 13-round calendar marks the return of Turkey after a seven-year absence. It replaces Poland in the fixture list, which was approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris this afternoon.
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.
Innovations for 2018 include:
• Turkey returns to the WRC for the first time since 2010. The 10th round will be based in the popular international holiday resort of Marmaris, in the south-west of the country, on 13 - 16 September.
The gravel event will feature fast to medium-speed special stages, including a mix of smooth open roads near Marmaris and more demanding rocky mountain passes in Mugla state.
Turkish motorsport federation TOSFED will organise the rally, which will be one of the most compact in WRC history with several stages starting or finishing close to the service park. The speed tests hug the coast in places, guaranteeing dramatic TV images for fans.
WRC manufacturers Toyota, Hyundai and Ford build vehicles in Turkey, which was Europe’s fifth largest automotive producer in 2016 with almost 1.5 million vehicles constructed.
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 season begins later than in 2017 as Monte-Carlo moves back a week to 25 - 28 January. The second round in Sweden is also seven days later on 15 - 18 February.
• Following the seventh round in Italy on 7 - 10 June, there will be a six-week break before the second half of the season begins in Finland on 26 - 29 July.
• Great Britain switches from late October and will run three weeks earlier on 4 - 7 October, allowing the event to also count for the British Rally Championship.
• Spain swaps with Great Britain to become the final European round and the penultimate event of the season. It reverts to its more traditional slot on 25 - 28 October.
WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla said the 2018 calendar offered heritage and originality.
“The 2018 season brings an enticing blend of WRC tradition and history, in the form of classic and long-standing rounds such as Sweden, Argentina and Finland, with a welcome return to Turkey,” he said.
“Turkey is a hugely important automotive market, in terms of sales and manufacturing. Record sales of almost a million vehicles were recorded in 2016 and the sporting reasons for its reintroduction are matched by a compelling business rationale.
“We offer manufacturers the opportunity to showcase their products in a championship focused on production-based cars, and I’m delighted Turkey’s return was unanimously supported by our participating manufacturers,” he added.
The 2018 calendar is:
|1.||Monte-Carlo||25 - 28 January|
|2.||Sweden||15 - 18 February|
|3.||Mexico||8 - 11 March|
|4.||France||5 - 8 April|
|5.||Argentina||26 - 29 April|
|6.||Portugal||17 - 20 May|
|7.||Italy||7 - 10 June|
|8.||Finland||26 - 29 July|
|9.||Germany||16 -19 August|
|10.||Turkey||13 - 16 September|
|11.||Great Britain||4 - 7 October|
|12.||Spain||25 - 28 October|
|13.||Australia||15 - 18 November|