The World Rally Championship (or WRC) is a global motorsports competition and the premier level of rallying discipline. Established in 1973, WRC is widely known as one of the world’s most exciting, fast-paced, and unpredictable sports and a motorsports competition that puts the drivers under some of the most unforgiving and demanding conditions.
If you’re not already a rallying fan, the sport can initially seem very confusing, especially if you’re trying to get into WRC betting. But we’re here to tell you that is not necessarily the case.
With the right guidance, even you can become an expert in betting on rally races, and with the help of our article, you can take one step closer to knowing everything there is to know about WRC and WER Betting.
WRC Relevant History
Every sport has an intriguing history that led it to where it’s now, but very few can compare with the World Rally Championship and its path to the modern-day WRC we know today.
Admittedly, rallying had been around for decades, but there had never been a formalized championship before the formation of the WRC in 1973. Between 1970 and 1972, there was an International Championship for Manufacturers (IMC), but the FIA did not make it official until 1973.
From when WRC was first contested, the competition has seen many changes to its format and the cars. Interestingly, the first driver’s world championship was not awarded until 1979, although the FIA included an FIA Cup for Drivers in 1977 and 1978, won by Sandro Munari and Markku Alén, respectively.
The first official world champion was Björn Waldegård in 1979, despite winning just two races all season. The next decade was a story of souring popularity of rallying, largely thanks to the introduction of rallying most iconic formula – Group B in 1982.
Group B fostered some of the fastest, most powerful, and most dangerous cars the world had and would ever see, mainly due to the lack of regulations. This inspired an arms race between manufacturers to produce the meanest, lightest, and fastest cars possible.
As cars became faster, the sport became more popular. However, it all ended in 1987 when FISA froze the development of the Group B cars and banned them from competing following the crash and death of Henri Toivonen and his co-driver Sergio Cresto in the 1986 Tour de Corse.
This began the era of Group A, which was far more regulated and safer for the drivers, but even it didn’t last for long. In 1997, the WRC introduced World Rally Car regulations and began a new era of rallying, which lasted for 25 years, finally ending in 2021 with the introduction of Rally1.
The new Rally1 cars are now defined in Article 262 of Appendix J of the International Sporting Code. The rules state that the cars have to have hybrid electric power units and that they don’t need to be homologated in Group A or N and have no series production car requirement but purpose-built competition vehicles.
WRC Championship Information
The WRC has been ever-changing since it was first introduced in 1973 and has since gone through many eras – each with defying characteristics and moments. The most recent was the introduction of Rally1 in 2021, which brought new regulations and implemented changes to the format.
The modern WRC season consists of a number of rounds and needs to include rally races on at least three continents. The organizers determine the exact number of races before the season starts, meaning there is no exact number of races that have to happen. On average, each WRC season sees 13 races, albeit there have been as few as eight in 1995.
The WRC season plays out similarly to any other motorsports competition. The drivers attend the events where they compete for championship points, which are distributed based on the driver’s final placement. Likewise, the manufacturers gain points based on the performance of their cars and compete for the Manufacturer’s championship – similarly to the Formula One World Championship.
Since 2011, each rally race also features a Power Stage, the event’s final stage. As the most important stage of the race, it also awards bonus points for the fastest drivers (and co-drivers) regardless of where they finish the rally. Due to its importance, the Power Stage is timed to the thousandth of a second – while special stages are timed to the tenth of a second.
As of 2021, each car that wants to compete in the race has to be hybrid-powered, meaning a mandatory 100kW hybrid unit coupled with a 1.6-liter turbocharged internal combustion engine. The new rule was introduced to create a more sustainable future for the WRC and attract new manufacturers.
How to bet on WRC
WRC betting might seem a bit tricky if you are a newcomer to the sport, but learning the basics of it that will help you better understand WRC betting odds and how to bet on rally races is fairly straightforward.
There are two main types of bets you will be using while betting on WRC: Race Winner and Championship winner. These are two of the simplest bets but also the most popular that you can find on most online sportsbooks.
While searching for WRC betting odds and markets, you will first stumble upon the race winner bet, which is the most popular bet for betting on WRC and rallying in general. As the name would suggest, this bet type allows you to predict which driver will win the race.
It’s important to note that the race winner is not a rally driver who completes one stage the fastest, but someone who sets the fastest time in total. So, in theory, a driver can win a race without actually winning a single stage.
The race winner WRC odds are set based on the driver’s chances to win any given event, with the favorites priced at lower odds (+300) and underdogs at higher odds (+1200). So if you want to bet on WRC, it’s first important to check the odds and WRC picks.
Assuming you want to back Sébastien Loeb to win the next race and one bookie offers you +250 and the other +300, you should bet with the latter for a chance of a higher payout. Picking the race winner is not easy, but it will be much easier if you are good at analyzing the drivers’ form, past results, and proficiency on different racing surfaces.
Just like there are WRC betting odds on who will win the next race, you can also bet on which driver will win the championship. This is an outright bet on which driver will perform the best throughout the entire season – collect the most points across all events.
You can bet on the WRC champion before the season begins, or you can place your wagers during the season once you get a better idea of which drivers are most likely to win. Although it can be tricky to bet on the WRC championship winner, the higher WRC odds and potential payouts make it worth it.
WRC Betting Odds
WRC betting odds are very straightforward and don’t differ from the odds you’ll find betting on any other motorsport. The favorites to win the race/championship will always be priced at lower odds, while underdogs offer higher odds.
The only thing you need to understand is that the offered WRC betting odds might differ from sportsbook to sportsbook, and you will rarely find bookies offering the same odds on the same driver. That’s why you should make sure that you’re betting with the best sportsbooks for WRC betting that can offer you competitive prices!
Yes! Betting on WRC is completely legal, as long as you’re using a legal sportsbook, are of age to bet, and your state laws don’t prohibit sports betting. Also, make sure you’re betting with the best sportsbooks that can offer competitive WRC odds and enough betting markets, two crucial factors determining your long-term success betting on rallying.
You can bet on WRC on most online sportsbooks, but know that not all will offer WRC odds. Although major races are well-covered across all bookies, you might want to find a sportsbook specializing in rallying if you’re going to bet on WRC races throughout the season.
There is no number of races that must happen in a WRC season. There have been as few as eight in the past, but generally, a WRC season sees approximately 13 races. It is, however, mandatory that the racers take place across at least three continents.