Ypres added to 2020 Junior WRC schedule

Series organizers have confirmed the one-make contest will head to Belgium for season finale

Ruairi Bell / Darren Garrod Ford Fiesta R2T

The Junior World Rally Championship will head to the Ypres Rally in Belgium to conclude its 2020 season, leaving the championship only one event short of its original five-rally schedule.

Rally Sweden held the season-opening round in February, which local driver Tom Kristensson won, but the original second round in Chile was canceled by political disruption. The coronavirus pandemic then meant Rally Italy was postponed to an October date, and this weekend’s Rally Estonia was drafted in to be round two and the first of the gravel rallies after Rally Finland was also canceled.

Two weeks ago the only asphalt round, Rally Germany, became the latest casaulty to the pandemic and championship organizers have now brought in Ypres, which runs on November 19-22, as an asphalt replacement to ensure the JWRC drivers run on three different surfaces after the icy roads of Sweden.

“We are very, very thankful for Rally Estonia organizers for putting this event together because I have to say it’s been a big challenge for them to bring this event to WRC,” said JWRC category director Maciej Woda during Rally Estonia.

“The next rally will be Rally Sardinia, which will be in October, and then the final round will be Ypres Rally Belgium. We are really looking forward to it because it will be a big, big challenge for the juniors again.”

Woda also commented on what the single-make JWRC may look like next year.

“We will continue with Junior WRC in the same format as we have right now, so it will be five events, three different surfaces, Ford Fiesta Rally4.

“At this moment it’s very difficult to say what exactly the calendar will be. For sure we are aiming to start on Rally Sweden, but we need a little bit of more time to understand what the WRC calendar will be and therefore what the JWRC calendar will be for 2021.”

Local driver Robert Virves currently leads the JWRC classification, albeit by just 1.3 seconds, on Rally Estonia after the first six stages.

Photos:Jakob Ebrey/BRC Media

Words:Elliot Wood