The Dakar Rally will be the first round of the Cross-Country World Championship from 2022 with the event now under the FIA banner as per the latest changes in regulations.
The Dakar Rally has famously been an independent competition since the inaugural edition in 1979. This, however, will change in 2022, as the Dakar Rally’s promoter Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) have agreed to add the competition to the 2022 Cross-Country World Championship. This also means that the Cross-Country rally has received the world championship status by the FIA. Until this year, the Cross-Country World Championship comprised the Bajas World Cup and the Cross-Country World Cup. However, the addition of Dakar will automatically make it to the first round of the new championship.
ASO will be the sole promoter of Dakar for the first five years. The FIA and ASO will align sporting and technical regulations to ensure a consistent approach for competitors across the events in 2022. The FIA will also develop technical regulations for new and alternative technologies in line with its environmental aims to support climate action.
Speaking on the partnership, Yann Le Moenner, CEO – ASO, said, “At a time when cross-country is undergoing a fundamental transformation, the creation of an FIA World Championship is excellent news for the development of our discipline. As its exclusive promoter, ASO is proud to integrate the Dakar Rally into the FIA World Championship calendar, and will work to promote the events in order to better showcase the technical expertise of the car manufacturers taking part in these rallies in extreme conditions.”
FIA President Jean Todt, said, “I am delighted of the outcome of long and fruitful discussions with ASO, which becomes the promoter of the FIA World Rally Championship for cross-country rallying, with a calendar that includes the famous Dakar.”
The complete Cross-Country World Championship calendar for 2022 will be announced later this year and will comprise five rounds. It will begin with the Dakar Rally in January and the event will be open to T1, T2, T3 and T4 vehicles. The world championship title will be awarded to the overall winning driver, co-driver and manufacturer. However, new FIA Championship titles will be introduced across all other categories. The FIA will also draft new regulations for T5 prototype trucks that will ensure inclusivity of all vehicle categories for professional and amateur drivers.
Cross-Country World Championship will join Formula 1, Formula E, WRC, WEC, Rallycross and Karting under the FIA banner. The deal though remains on the car side of things at Dakar. The Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) and the Dakar Rally are yet to join hands and integrate into the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. That being said, we could see that change happening sometime in the future.