Insight: WRC calendar
Chile's addition to the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship calendar means the series has visited exactly the same number of countries both inside and outside of Europe since the WRC was formed in 1973.
The Concepción-based gravel event, which will run from 9-12 May next season, was confirmed as the WRC's newest rally at the FIA's World Motor Sport Council meeting on Friday (12 October).
Chile therefore becomes the 32nd country to host the WRC since the inaugural championship was contested 45 years ago.
Confirming the truly global reach of the WRC, Chile's exciting inclusion takes the tally of overseas countries to accommodate the WRC to 16 – the same as the number of European countries.
That's a statistic that prompted us to delve into the WRC archives to unearth some more fascinating calendar facts. Here's what we found:
- Finland and Great Britain lead the way as the countries that have hosted the most WRC events, with 45 apiece.
- The last new country to be added to the WRC calendar roster – before Chile – was Bulgaria. It hosted a single event in 2010 which was won by nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb.
- Seven of the countries that were included on the first championship calendar in 1973 ran a WRC event in 2018. They are: Finland, Great Britain, France, Italy, Sweden, Monaco and Portugal.
- Three countries have hosted a WRC event on a single occasion. Austria welcomed the world's best rally drivers in 1973, Bulgaria organised a rally in 2010 and China was part of the series in 1999.
- This year's Kennards Hire Rally Australia (15-18 November) will mark the 25th time the country has hosted a WRC event. The gravel rally first joined the series in 1989 and was won by Juha Kankkunen in a Toyota Celica GT-4.
- Japan and Kenya, which have been included on the calendar six and 29 times respectively, are both bidding to return to the series in 2020. Japan's Rally Shinshiro will be held as a candidate event on 2-4 November 2018, while a similar event will be held in Kenya on a date to be confirmed in 2019.
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