The 2017 World Rally Championship opened this weekend with the Rallye Monte Carlo. The historic event, with plenty of night stages and ice covered pavement, was a great way to show off the new vehicles of the event.
The WRC 2017 rules now allow for more freedom in terms of powertrain and aerodynamics. This is evident is the designs of the 2017 cars on display with wide wheel arches, redesigned bumpers and huge spoilers. The engines can now be 380bhp, an increase of around 80bhp, which should change the competition significantly. Interestingly, electronic differentials are now permitted, which is a move that might signal the return of Volkswagen in 2018 if it proves successful this year.
This year looks as fun as last year with mixed terrain ranging from dry tarmac to ice. This is coupled with the fact that there is over 40km of extra special course for the drivers to navigate this year.
The schedule has been tweaked slightly to bring the Tour de Corse to round 4 (instead of round 11 last year), and the China section, which was cancelled last year, has been removed completely from this season. The final event on the calendar this year is once again Rally Australia in November, which will be a gravel surface.