The 2011 World Rally Championship was the 39th season of the FIA World Rally Championship in automobile racing. The season has 13 rallies, beginning with Rally Sweden on 10 February. Sébastien Loeb claimed his eighth consecutive World Championship title at the Wales Rally of Great Britain when title rival Mikko Hirvonen retired on the first day with an engine that was too damaged to restart.
The new technical regulations for the World Rally Car will become effective from 2011. The cars will be based on the current Super 2000 cars, fitted with a supplementary kit, which includes turbo and rear-wing additions. The kit must be able to be fitted or removed within a defined time limit, to be determined. They will be powered by a 1600cc turbo engine instead of the previous 2000cc turbo unit.
The sporting regulations were amended to allow any tyre manufacturer to supply tyres. Regulations were implemented to control costs. The amended regulations were presented to the WMSC for a fax vote before 20 July 2010.
Michelin and British tyre firm DMACK became the two tyre suppliers for the season, following Pirelli's contract coming to an end and their announcement as the official tyre supplier for Formula One.
Additional championship points will be awarded to the top three crews on a televised stage on the final day of each rally, known as the "Power Stage". 3 points will be awarded to the stage winner, with 2 and 1 for second and third respectively.
Following a fax vote by the members of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC), the following calendar has been agreed for the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship.Rally d'Italia Sardegna and Rally Argentina return to the WRC after one year in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, replacing Rally Bulgaria and Rally Japan.
Acropolis Rally replaces Rally of Turkey after a sabbatical year.
Rally Australia replaces Rally New Zealand and will be relocated for the second time in five years. After moving from Perth in Western Australia to Kingscliff on the east coast after the 2006 event, the event will be run out of Coffs Harbour, 250 kilometres (160 mi) to the south. The city has regularly hosted a round of the Australian Rally Championship for over a decade.
After being promoted to the Citroën works team for the 2010 Rally Finland in place of Dani Sordo, Sébastien Ogier signed a contract to drive for the team for the entire 2011 season, despite an offer from Ford.
2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Kris Meeke will move to the World Rally Championship, joining debutants Mini in their Prodrive-run John Cooper Works WRC. He will be joined by Dani Sordo after the Spaniard lost his place at Citroën.
Peter van Merksteijn Jr. will compete for Van Merksteijn Motorsport with a Citroën DS3 WRC in 10 selected events, while his father Peter van Merksteijn Sr. will drive in 3.
Daniel Oliveira who previously competed in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge will compete with a MINI John Cooper Works WRC in selected events for the Brazil World Rally Team.
Dennis Kuipers, who raced in 2010 with a Ford Fiesta S2000 run by M-Sport, will compete for the FERM Power Tools World Rally Team.
Mini returned to the World Rally Championship as a factory team for the first time since 1967. The manufacturer used the Mini John Cooper Works, to be run by Dave Richards' Prodrive team after Prodrive failed in their bid to join the 2010 and 2011 Formula One grids. The John Cooper Works WRC will be run in a limited campaign of selected events for the 2011 season, with a view to taking part in the full World Championship from 2012.
The WRC Academy uses identical Ford Fiesta R2s.
Points are awarded to the top 10 classified finishers.
Notes:1 2 3 refers to the classification of the drivers on the 'Power Stage', where bonus points are awarded 3–2–1 for the fastest three drivers on the stage.
† – ICE 1 Racing was excluded from the manufacturers' championship after they failed to take part in Rally Australia. As the team is considered to be a WRC entry (as opposed to a development entry, like the Mini WRC Team), it was obligated to take part in at least two rounds of the championship outside Europe. Driver Kimi Räikkonen had previously taken part in Rally Jordan, but had not competed in any further events outside Europe, and Rally Australia was the final flyaway round of the championship.
† Frigyes Turán Excluded from Championship
† Excluded from Championship
Note: 1 refers to the number of stages won, where a bonus point is awarded per stage win. † Deducted 25 points