Watch the 2014 World Rally Championship on Motors TV
The FIA World Rally Championship returns to Motors TV in 2014, kicking off on the snow-covered mountains around Monte Carlo. This year’s calendar remains largely unaltered from 2013, with competitors still tackling 13 events across the globe. The sole change sees Poland replace the historic Rally Greece, a move partly inspired by the addition of a certain ex-Formula 1 driver to this year’s entry list.
Fresh changes to starting rules order
A handful of WRC regulations have undergone slight tweaks for 2014. To avoid late strategy changes, the special qualifying stage first introduced in 2012 will no longer decide the starting order for loose-surface stages. On the first day of the event the starting order will be based on the current WRC standings, while on following days drivers will begin in reverse rally classification. Competitors who have retired and rejoined the event using the Rally2 rule will run after the first and second priority drivers.
The FIA will also allow teams leeway regarding entries in 2014, with 10 events rather than a full season representing the minimum. All rallies will run to the same schedule, with an opening ceremony held on Thursday and the Power Stage, which will be at least 10km-long, closing the event around noon at European venues.
Hyundai joins the WRC
Korean marque Hyundai joins the WRC this year, lining up alongside fellow manufacturer teams Citroën and Volkswagen. Their lead i20 machine will be piloted by Thierry Neuville throughout the 2014 season, while Dani Sordo, Juho Hanninen and Chris Atkinson will share driving duties in the second car.
Meanwhile Citroën will field two entries, with Mads Østberg and Kris Meeke handed chances at the multiple title-winning squad. They’ll be looking to catch 2013 pacesetters Volkswagen, who retain world champion Sébastien Ogier alongside Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen.
There’s significant interest in the M-Sport squad, where returnee Mikko Hirvonen is joined by Elfyn Evans and former F1 star Robert Kubica. The Polish driver made an instant impression in WRC2 last year, quickly earning a chance in world rallying’s premier class. Four tyre manufacturers will be present this season, with Pirelli returning to the WRC alongside Michelin, Hankook and DMACK.
International broadcast - (click for UK broadcast)
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP HIGHLIGHTS RALLYE DEUTSCHLAND
Rallye de France
Rally de España
Rally of Great Britain