The European Rally Championship has added Belgium’s Spa Rally, which includes nighttime running and the use of the Formula 1 circuit, to its calendar to complete a six-round 2020 season after the status of Cyprus Rally was announced to be downgraded.
Stages on the Spa Rally, which has run for five years and appeared as a Belgian Rally Championship round, use roads in and around the Belgian Grand Prix venue of the same name and has its service park based in the circuit paddock.
The December 12-13 event will mark the ERC’s first visit to Belgium since 2016 when the calendar included the Ypres Rally, which will be part of the World Rally Championship for the first time on November 20-22 and will also visit Spa on its final day.
ERC co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley said: “We have followed the Spa Rally closely for a while now and have always been impressed by the forward-thinking approach, attention to detail and strong organization and promotion from Christian Jupsin and his team at DG Sport.
“Having discussed the possibility of the Spa Rally joining the ERC previously, it’s very satisfying that those conversations have resulted in the event joining the FIA European Rally Championship calendar for the first time for what promises to be a spectacular finale to the current season.”
The distance of the primarily asphalt addition to the calendar will be 205.5 kilometers (127.7 miles) and will include some loose-surface running through the use of the World Rallycross Championship circuit that sits near Spa’s iconic Eau Rouge corner.
Christian Jupsin, the Spa Rally promoter, said: “This is a project that we had already discussed in the past.
“It was not possible then, but the postponement of this year’s Spa Rally from March to December due to COVID-19 restrictions gave us the opportunity to re-enter discussions with Eurosport Events regarding the hosting of an ERC round.
“I am very happy an agreement has been concluded and it is a great satisfaction and a great recognition for DG Sport and its staff are now also able to organise the final round of the 2020 FIA ERC.
“In collaboration with the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the City of Spa and the municipalities that host the special stages, I can guarantee you that we will put the small dishes in the big ones so that the Spa Rally 2020 is a great rally celebration that will be remembered.”
Cyprus – which makes way for Spa – has been on the ERC calendar since 2014, ran as an Intercontinental Rally Challenge round for three years prior to that, and was one of few events not to be lost from 2020’s international rally schedule through the coronavirus pandemic.
It has instead lost championship status for this year, but will still take place and award points for the Middle East and Cypriot rally championships and is intended to be promoted back to ERC status in 2021.
The replacement of Cyprus means five of the six ERC rallies this year are asphalt-based, with only Latvia’s Rally Liepaja running on gravel.