Monza Rally To Replace Japan

Italy’s ACI Rally Monza will host a spectacular finale to the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship for a second straight season.

The asphalt event will take place on 19 - 21 November and will be based at the famous Autodromo Nazionale de Monza race circuit near Milan, in the north of the country. It will form the 12th and last round of the year.

ACI Rally Monza will replace FORUM8 Rally Japan which was cancelled last week due to the continued effects of the pandemic in the country.

The rally was also drafted into the championship at short notice in 2020 when S├ębastien Ogier and Hyundai Motorsport clinched the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles after three days of tense competition on muddy and snowy asphalt.

The rally will include stages at the ‘Temple of Speed’ circuit featuring famous Monza corners such as Michele Alboreto, Lesmo and Curva Grande. There will also be demanding closed public road stages in the mountains to the north of the circuit.

The rally has been held since 1978 and will be the second Italian counter of the season. June’s gravel road Rally Italia Sardegna formed the fifth round of the championship and was won by Ogier.

WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel said the rally would once again provide an exciting challenge for competitors.

“There were plenty of thrills and spills at last year’s rally when wintry conditions played a crucial part,” he said. “This year’s event will be held earlier, but the ‘Temple of Speed’ allied with tough roads in the foothills of the Alps will ensure the action will be equally breathtaking.

“We are obviously tremendously disappointed at the cancellation, for unavoidable reasons, of FORUM8 Rally Japan after so much hard work. Equally we are grateful for ACI’s commitment in stepping in again at short notice to provide a fitting finale to the WRC season.

“Our heartfelt thanks go to JAF, motorsport’s governing body in Japan, rally organisers SAN’S Inc., the government and the local authorities in the rally region which contributed so much preparation. We remain totally committed to returning to Japan in 2022 when we’re sure conditions will allow,” he added.

FIA rally director Yves Matton said: “The cancellation of Rally Japan due to Covid-19 is clearly very disappointing and another tough blow for the organisers who have worked so hard with no reward for a second year.”

“ACI Rally Monza stepped in at a very late stage last season and yet the organisers managed to deliver a strong and innovative event around the iconic circuit.

“President Angelo Sticchi Damiani and his team from ACI demonstrated they have all it takes to put on a top-class WRC event and it is very positive news to count on their commitment and professionalism this year to again host the championship finale,” he added.

Angelo Sticchi Damiani, Automobile Club d’Italia president, said: “The confirmation of the ACI Rally Monza within the World Rally Championship shows on the one side the great relationship among Automobile Club d’Italia, FIA and WRC Promoter that is based on mutual trust and respect, and from the other the value of the format of this rally that has been highly appreciated last year.

“Once again, Automobile Club d’Italia made itself available by providing a unique location that will be the extraordinary setting for the finale of the WRC 2021 campaign in order to complete the calendar of this world series in a moment that is still quite tough.

“The Temple of Speed of Monza will welcome again the WRC cars hoping that fans can be the icing on the cake of this extraordinary event. The organisation work has started and all the staff is working to deliver the best possible event.”