The World Rally Championship (WRC) is a rally series organised by the FIA. The driver’s world championship and manufacturer’s world championship are separate championships, but based on the same points system. Each rally is split into 15–25 special stages which are run against the clock on closed roads.
The World Rally Championship was formed from well-known and popular international rallies. The series was first contested in 1973. Current World Rally Cars are built on production 1.6-litre four-cylinder cars, but feature turbochargers, anti-lag systems, four-wheel-drive, sequential gearboxes, aerodynamic parts and other enhancements.
After the success of the Japanese manufacturers, France’s Peugeot made a very successful return to the World Rally Championship. Finn Marcus Grönholm took the drivers’ title in his first full year in the series and Peugeot won the manufacturers’ crown. England’s Richard Burns won the 2001 title with a Subaru Impreza WRC, but Grönholm and Peugeot took back both titles in the 2002. In 2003, Norway’s Petter Solberg become drivers’ champion for Subaru. Citroën’s Sébastien Loeb went on to control the following seasons with his Citroën Xsara WRC. Citroën took the constructors’ title three times in a row and Loeb surpassed Mäkinen’s record of four consecutive drivers’ titles, earning his ninth consecutive World Rally Championship in 2012. Volkswagen Motorsport entered the championship in 2013 and Sebastien Ogier dominated the series with four consecutive titles. New World Rally Car rules were introduced for 2017 which generated faster and more aggressive cars.
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