The hybrid Rally1 category’s not the only new show in town this week with an all-new WRC3 category kicking off in Monte Carlo as well.
For 2022, WRC3 means Rally3 and Rally3 means the M-Sport’s 1.5-liter, turbocharged and four-wheel drive Ford Fiesta. That’s a complete turnaround from last season, when WRC3 was part of a confusing second tier of the world championship. Previously WRC3 was for drivers in Rally2 cars.
More manufacturers will follow M-Sport Ford into Rally3, with Renault expected to be running later this year. But for now WRC3 is all about the pocket rockets from Poland.
M-Sport Poland managing director Maciej Woda is the driving force behind both the Fiesta and the category itself. Predictably, the class pioneer is pleased with the FIA’s decision to offer a world championship for Rally3 cars.
“It’s fantastic news,” Woda told DirtFish. “Of course, we have Junior WRC using these cars, but to have a standalone title for the category as well is really important.”
As expected, the Rally3 cars benefitted from an increase in power following a decision from December’s World Motor Sport Council meeting to widen the turbo restrictor from 30 to 31mm.
“This change means the car will have 235bhp instead of just over 200,” said Woda. “For the torque, we’ll have 415Nm instead of 400. The car is fantastic with this power and four-wheel drive. I think it will surprise a lot of people this season.”
With the 54th Fiesta Rally3 just built at M-Sport Poland’s Krakow facility, there’s already huge demand for what is so-far, the world’s only Rally 3 car.
Last year’s JWRC winner Sami Pajari will be joined by Enrico Brazzoli, Zoltán László and Jan Černy in the maiden Rally3-based WRC3 category in Monte Carlo this week.