Rally Monza to replace Japan as 2021 WRC finale

Rally Monza will replace the recently cancelled Rally Japan as the final round of the 2021 World Rally Championship.

The Italian event had been expected to slot into the November slot vacated by Rally Japan after organisers confirmed the cancellation of the rally earlier this week for the second consecutive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rally Monza’s return to the WRC calendar was announced during the WRC Live coverage of the final stage of the Acropolis Rally. The event will take place on November 19-21.

The Italian rally hosted the final round of last year’s COVID-19 impacted calendar and was won by Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier, who secured a seventh world title in the process. 

Details regarding the formats and stages of the 2021 edition of the rally, that will incorporate the famous Monza circuit, are yet to be announced.      

Confirmation of Monza’s inclusion on the calendar ensures there will be three remaining events of the season with the championship set to head to Finland and Spain in October.

While WRC teams and local marque Toyota in particular are saddened not to be heading to Japan this year, organisers are hopeful the event will take place next year.

"I take this opportunity to also express my heartfelt gratitude to all who worked so tirelessly in order to make this event possible,” said Rally Japan Executive committee chairman Satoshi Suzuki.

"We are determined to do our best in order to overcome this COVID-19 pandemic and successfully be able to hold the WRC in Japan in 2022. I pray for the safety of all.”

The WRC has already released a partial 2022 calendar of nine events, with six rallies set to fight over the four remaining spots on the schedule.

The only dates confirmed for 2022 are those belonging to the Monte Carlo Rally (January 20-23) and Rally Sweden (February 24-27).

A further seven events have been confirmed on the calendar: Portugal, Italy, Kenya, Spain, Japan, Estonia and Greece. Dates and the order of events are yet to be announced.

Rallies currently absent from the schedule that feature on this year’s calendar include Croatia, Finland, Arctic Rally Finland and Belgium (Ypres Rally), while Motorsport.com understands there is still an active bid to bring the WRC back to Great Britain built around a potential Tarmac event in Northern Ireland.

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