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  • Writer's pictureDrew Bentham

Spain returns to the WRC

Rally Islas Canarias to host WRC

Spain has a long history with the WRC, the first world event taking place back in 1991 but its history can be traced back to 1957. The tarmac event was included in the European Championship from 1975, before it eventually joined the WRC in 1991.

As part of an initial 2-year deal, next year’s rally will run on Gran Canaria in the same fast asphalt format which has made the island event a popular round of the European Rally Championship since 2016. The 2026 running, which marks the 50th running of Rally Islas Canarias, will include feature stages on the island of Tenerife as reported in our earlier report.

Germán Morales, CEO of the event promoter Club Deportivo Todo Sport, said Monday’s announcement was the realisation of the organiser’s ambition.

Bringing the Rally Islas Canarias to the WRC has been the reward for many years of work, It was a goal desired by several generations, and now, together with WRC Promoter, it has become within reach.

Previous running of the rally were held in the Costa Brava region featuring some of the most iconic pieces of tarmac in world rallying, forming fast-yet-narrow stages that push drivers to the limit. The rally later relocating to Salou in 2002. After being a pure asphalt event, it developed into a mixed surface event in 2010, before returning to its all-asphalt roots in 2021.

The event has also seen some key moments over the years. Who can forget Gilles Panizzi pleasing the fans with an impromptu donut in 2002 or the heroic push from Colin McRae in 1995 to bring the points score to a draw with team mate, Carlos Sainz in the Subaru, to his teams displeasure.

It follows a similar move by the WRC to elevate Tet Rally Latvia and Rally Poland from the ERC to the WRC for this year. With other events appearing to be reaching their own rubber stamps in Ireland, Saudi Arabia and Paraguay, the championship is definitely on the up.

WRC Promoter managing director Jona Seibel, added:

Since adding the European Rally Championship to our portfolio of championships, we have been left with little doubts about the capabilities of the rally management team to run this rally next year on the WRC calendar.
We are enthusiastic about having Spain back on the WRC calendar and are encouraged to see our clearly defined strategy to have an opportunity for ERC events to have a pathway to WRC coming to fruition as Rally Islas Canarias follows on from Latvia and Poland in 2024.

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