After the European Rally Championship lost Rally Hungary to an FIA decision last December, it has been looking for a replacement season finale ever since.
An unusual solution has now been implemented to act as the season finale, with the ERC bolting itself onto Rally Spain during the same weekend as the World Rally Championship event is running.
Though the WRC and ERC will be running on the same stages on the same weekend, they will not run as a unified field. Instead, WRC Promoter announced they will function as entirely separate rallies from one another.
ERC will feature a qualifying stage on Thursday afternoon and cover the first 14 stages of the WRC event that take place on Friday and Saturday.
But unlike the WRC, which wraps up its Saturday action with a superspecial in Salou and then continues on to Sunday, the ERC will end its rally – and the season – with the second pass of El Montmell.
That final run through El Montmell will also form the ERC’s points-paying powerstage finale.
ERC has for the most part been dominated by Spaniards this season, with Efrén Llarena on the cusp of a first European title, his co-driver Sara Fernandez closing in on a second consecutive co-driver’s title and Nil Solans scoring two rally wins.
It’s also the second time ERC will visit Spain this year, following its annual pilgrimage to the Canary Islands back in May.
Hungary lost its place on the ERC calendar for 2022 after receiving a blue card from the FIA, which is handed out when a “serious lack of compliance with the regulations and the commitments undertaken (itinerary, organizational structure, etc.) is observed.”
While Spain has been tacked on as the season finale for this season, Hungary is expecting to resume its place on the ERC calendar next year.
DirtFish revealed last month that it has a letter of intent agreed with WRC Promoter to return next year, subject to having its blue card rescinded after it runs in mid-November.