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Thu 02 May 2024

World stars excited by ERC-counting Rally Islas Canarias joining WRC

Leading FIA World Rally Championship drivers believe Rally Islas Canarias joining the WRC from 2025 will be a big hit among the fans and provide a “proper” Tarmac challenge from behind the wheel.

Subject to FIA World Motor Sport Council approval, Rally Islas Canarias will host Spain’s WRC counter in 2025 and 2026 following its hugely successful tenure as part of the FIA European Rally Championship.  


Adrien Fourmaux, who won Rally Islas Canarias in 2020 and has since claimed two podiums in the WRC for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, said: “It was a great experience for me, the stages are proper Tarmac stages, really high grip, normally. They are flowing in the mountains and the view of the sea when you are at the top is great. Sometimes it’s a bit narrow, sometimes it’s wide.”

He continued: “I was really enjoying the rally but when I came to the Canaries people told me there is only three days of rain in a year. But when the rally started, it was November, we had four days full rain so I did all the stages under the rain, so it’s still going to be new for me but I’m really pleased it’s in the WRC, it’s a proper Tarmac event.”  


Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team driver Esapekka Lappi has never rallied on Gran Canaria before but he did complete the recce in 2013.  


The Finn (below) said: “Actually on the moment when it was announced I was there having a holiday there but I have been there before on holiday but also in work mode. Eleven years ago I did the recce. We’ve been saying Catalunya is the best Tarmac rally in the world but let’s wait and see, I’m pretty sure this will be better than Catalunya. The Tarmac is so smooth, there is no bumps, no cuts, it’s very consistent grip so you can set-up the car really low and stiff. It’s a proper racing circuit feeling so it will be amazing. And for Finnish people it’s a holiday destination and it will be a really enjoyable event for them.”

Unlike his Hyundai team-mate Lappi, Thierry Neuville has two Rally Islas Canarias starts under his belt from 2010 and 2011.  


“It’s a very nice event, really enjoyable and wide, fast and flowing roads,” Belgian driver Neuville (below) said. “There were a massive amount of spectators when I was there, very passionate. It was my first real event in a Super 2000 car and I finished seven seconds from the lead in third place behind the two official Škodas. It’s an event I really enjoyed and I really look forward to go back.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT’s Elfyn Evans (below) said: “I would definitely say it’s a good addition to the calendar. We don’t really have our clean Tarmac rally in the calendar with Catalunya gone so it’s nice to have this event. It will be in a lovely setting and atmosphere.”  


Double WRC champion Kalle Rovanperä added: “I’ve seen onboards of the stages from the ERC and it look nice. If we use the same stages I think it can be a really nice rally.”  


Rally Islas Canarias hosts round two of the 2024 ERC season from 2 - 4 May.