Italy’s ACI Rally Monza will host the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship after being added to the calendar today (Friday).
The asphalt event will take place on 4 – 6 December and will be based at the famous Autodromo Nazionale de Monza race circuit near Milan, in the north of the country.
The itinerary will adopt the FIA WRC’s short format schedule, featuring about 220km of special stages, with the majority of the first and last day action at the circuit.
Saturday’s middle leg speed tests will comprise demanding closed public roads in the Lombardy region close to Monza.
The rally has been held since 1978 and will be the second Italian counter of an FIA WRC season severely affected by Covid-19. This weekend’s Rally Italia Sardegna forms the sixth round of the eight-event series.
Traditionally an end-of-season celebration event contested by both rally and track racing experts, the Monza Rally has been won on seven occasions by MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi.
WRC stars to taste success there include Dani Sordo in 2010 and 2013, nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb in 2011 and Robert Kubica in 2014.
WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel said the rally would provide an exciting challenge for competitors.
“As the final round of the championship, there’s a strong chance both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ WRC titles could go right down to the wire on Monza’s roads.
“The WRC prides itself on rewarding rallying’s best all-round driver across multiple terrains and varied conditions. This type of rally is rare in our championship but will provide a thrilling finale to an unpredictable year,” he added.
FIA Rally Director Yves Matton said confirming an eighth round for the series in such complex times was a reward for the efforts and hard work of all involved to ensure valuable titles for the 2020 championship.
“In the current situation, we’re developing new approaches and ACI Rally Monza Italia is a great illustration of this. It’s the marriage of an iconic circuit event and more traditional rally stages in the nearby countryside.
“This new concept could eventually help bring the WRC to countries or regions where new formats are required.”
“It has required a great deal of flexibility from ACI and its President Angelo Sticchi Damiani to bring this new event to the calendar at such a late stage and I would like to thank them for their great commitment and professionalism,” he added.
Angelo Sticchi Damiani, Automobile Club d’Italia president, said the club had accepted with great dedication towards the FIA, and in the interests of international motorsport, to organise the final round.
“For Automobile Club d’Italia it will be another commitment during a season where we were the protagonists in all the major sports events.
“Our discussions with WRC Promoter have also led to it being considered as a contingency event for 2021.
“The event in the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the ‘Temple of Speed’, will be great for the series. It will be an incredible show and a unique experience for car and tyre manufacturers, teams, drivers and all the other protagonists of a high-quality WRC event,” he added.