Rallying’s worldwide weekend of March madness

From ARA gravel through European asphalt to the Indian opener, a mega weekend of national rallying is in store


Are you stuck for something to do this weekend as the agonizing wait until the next World Rally Championship event continues? Well, we might just have the solution for you.

While there’s still two weeks until the WRC kicks back into action in Kenya, this weekend will be the busiest of the entire year for national-level rallying.

There are no less than eight unique events taking place around the world, offering everything from treacherous Tarmac to flat-out forest jumps.

So come with us on a whistle-stop tour of the globe as we preview this weekend’s action, and make sure you get yourself stage-side if you can!

USA – Rally in the 100 Acre Wood (March 15-16)

97 Car-8

Barry McKenna is back in his Ford Fiesta WRC

Where better to start our tour than Salem, Missouri and 100 Acre Wood?

Round two of the ARA championship takes place this weekend, and Subaru’s star pairing of Travis Pastrana and Brandon Semenuk are set to battle it out for American rallying supremacy once again on Missouri’s fast, flowing forest stages.

They’ll be joined by 2020 ARA champion Barry McKenna, who will seek to shake up the regular order in his Ford Fiesta WRC, and 33 other crews piloting everything from Mitsubishi Mirages to Dodge Colts.

Running for the 29th time, the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood demands maximum commitment from the drivers across its fast gravel stages, especially over the famous cattle guard jump that pitches cars into the air for over 100 feet.

France – Rallye Le Touquet – Pas-de-Calais (March 15-16)

Yoann Bonato

A sixth French title would make Bonato's smile even wider

If you find yourself in Europe this weekend, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to rallying. If fast Tarmac is what you’re seeking, then look no further than the French Asphalt Championship, which kicks-off in the seaside town of Le Touquet on Friday.

As arguably the biggest national rallying series on the planet, and the training ground for WRC legends like Sébastien Ogier and Sébastien Loeb, the French championship is highly competitive, with 188 cars entered for this weekend’s event, including 25 Rally2 machines.

Five-time champion Yoann Bonato will be hoping for a strong start to his latest title defense in his Citroën C3, but he’ll face stiff competition from the likes of former WRC driver Eric Camilli (Hyundai i20 N) and Léo Rossel (Citroën), brother of WRC2 star Yohan.

And if you’re out on the stages this weekend, you’ll catch a glimpse of everything from brand-new Rally2 machinery to Group A BMW M3s and legendary F2 kit cars. What’s not to love?

Ireland – West Cork Rally (March 15-17)


Keith Cronin heads the ITRC standings after the opening round in Galway

If you prefer a bit more drizzle with your asphalt rallying, then the West Cork Rally is the event for you this weekend. And for the first time ever, it’ll be a three-day affair with Friday’s additional action even set to include a pair of spectacular night stages.

Round two of the Irish Tarmac Championship features a huge entry list of over 160 cars, headlined by last year’s winner Josh Moffett in his Citroën C3 and Keith Cronin (Ford Fiesta), who won the season’s opening round in Galway last month.

Junior WRC champion Will Creighton (Fiesta) will join the ITRC regulars this weekend, with entries including the usual range of modern Rally2 cars mixed with historic cars and the always thrilling modified class.

With the stunning Irish coastline as a backdrop, a mix of old and new stages, and the ever-present threat of rain to spice things up, there’s sure to be plenty of action across the West Cork’s three-day itinerary.

Germany – Rallye Erzgebirge (March 15-16)


German champion Marijan Griebel finished second on last year's event

The town of Stollberg hosts the opening round of this year’s German Rally Championship: Rallye Erzgebirge – an all-asphalt affair which features the intriguing prospect of two special stages around Jahnsdorf Airport on Friday evening.

Three-time and reigning champion Marijan Griebel returns to defend his crown in a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, while one-time Danish Champion Kenneth Madsen is the new challenger in town, and is set to make his debut on the Saxony-based event in a Citroën C3.

The 67-car entry includes 13 Rally2 machines, but the eyes of some spectators may well be drawn more to the range of historic rally cars on offer, which include an Opel Ascona 400 of Group B fame, a Mercedes-Benz 500 SL and even an East German classic – the Trabant 601.

Austria – Rebenland Rallye (March 15-16)

It’s been two long months since Austria got the international rallying season underway with January’s Jänner Rallye, but the waiting for round two of its national championship is finally over.

Austria’s best drivers will trade the icy mountain roads of Upper Austria for the Rebenland Rallye’s narrow vineyards tracks through the south Styrian wine country in yet another Tarmac test taking place in Europe this weekend.

Michael Lengauer, winner of round one to the surprise of many including himself, has a golden opportunity to show he’s no one-hit wonder as he returns for round two in a Škoda Fabia, while the event will very much be an international affair, with an impressive eight nationalities represented on the 90-car entry list.

That list is topped by 19 Rally2 machines, including an unusual Audi A1 Rally2 kit car, while a Lancia Delta Integrale 16V and a BMW 2002 Ti are the among many historic entries which are bound to turn heads this weekend.

Italy – Rally il Ciocco e Valle del Serchio (March 15-16)

Tuscany’s beautiful Serchio Valley hosts round one of the Italian Rally Championship this weekend; an asphalt rally characterized by climbs over tight, twisty mountain roads and blasts through sleepy countryside villages.

This year’s event will herald the debut of the new qualifying stage in the series, which is sure to bring added excitement Friday’s action.


Andrea Crugnola's Citroën heads the Ciocco entry

Italian champion Andrea Crugnola returns to defend his title in a Citroën C3, and he’s joined by the usual range of Rally2 weapons including more Citroëns, Škodas, Hyundais and even a brand-new Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 in the hands of double European champion Giandomenico Basso.

The 109-strong entry list also includes a host of two-wheel-drive machinery, including Rally4 cars, Super 1600s and a gaggle of Fiat Seicento kit cars – an Italian legend.

Portugal – Rallye Casinos do Algarve (March 15-16)


Meeke flew to success over Fafe's famous jumps

If you’re a gravel rallying fan in Europe, you may have been wondering if there’s anything for you on offer this weekend. Fear not – the Portuguese Rally Championship has you covered.

Round two of the series takes the crews to the gravel roads of the Algarve – some of which were used in the WRC during Rally Portugal’s stint in the region from 2007 to 2014. Eight rough gravel stages in the Portuguese countryside await the crews, and there’s also the added spectacle of a superspecial around the streets of the historic town of Lagos on Friday night.

Fresh from dominating round one of the series, Kris Meeke returns to the championship in a Hyundai i20 N Rally2, and he’ll take on Portugal’s finest drivers once again including defending series champion Ricardo Teodósio, also driving a Hyundai.

But it isn’t just Rally2 cars that will keep the Algarve crowds entertained, with plenty of variety on the 63-car entry list including Mitsubishi Lancer Evos, a Citroën Saxo cup car and a rare Mazda 323 TWR.

India – South India Rally (March 15-17)


Rifat Sungkar won last year's Asia-Pacific title

For the final stop on our national rallying world tour, we head to Asia for the 47th edition of the South India Rally. The event kicks off the 2024 Indian National Rally Championship, and also doubles up as round one of the prestigious FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship and the APRC Asia Cup.

India’s best drivers will descend on Chennai for this mixed surface event, which features 85 miles of action across 13 special stages.

Last year’s winner and three-time APRC champion Gaurav Gill returns to the event in a Ford Fiesta Rally4, while Subaru Imprezas and a host of R2-spec Volkswagen Polo Mk5s – a unique feature of the Indian championship – are set to give Gill a run for his money.

Bonus: Spain – Rally Costa Brava (March 15-16)


There'll be a range of historic machinery on display in Costa Brava this weekend, including asphalt-spec Escorts

This isn’t a national championship round – but it’s easily one of the best places in the world to be this week if you’re a fan of rallying, or just cars in general.

Girona hosts the opening round of the ERC Historic season (plus its domestic counterpart in Spain), so there’s a plethora of classic machinery going full attack on the same stages that for decades were part of the World Rally Championship’s itinerary, back when Costa Brava was the host region for Rally Spain.

There’s something for everyone: plenty of Group A fare is present in the form of the Lancia Delta, Subaru Legacy, BMW M3 E30, Ford Sierra Cosworth, There’s Group B machinery with Andrea Zivian’s Audi Quattro and Robert Simonetti’s Lancia 037 (sort of, it’s built on a Beta Montecarlo chassis). There’s a six-cylinder symphony to come from a swathe of classic Porsche 911s, plenty of BDA revving from Escorts and even a handful of kit cars.

It was Zivian’s Quattro that won this event last year – but reigning champion Luigi Battistolli in his distinctive black and red Delta Integrale HF always comes into any ERC Historic event as a favorite to win; he’s won four titles, including last year.

It might not be quite as fiercely fought as the national competitors elsewhere in the world this week – after all, who wants to risk smashing up such precious pieces of automotive history? But a mixture of iconic WRC cars on iconic WRC stages is hard to pass up.