AUSTRALIA will not host a round of the FIA World Rally Championship in 2020, but expects to return from 2021 as the series implements a new policy of event rotation.
The 2020 calendar was announced yesterday after a vote of the world motorsport governing body, the FIA, and sees three of the WRC’s longest-standing events, Rally Spain, Rally France and Rally Australia, subject to the rotation policy.
The World Rally has been held annually for some years on the Coffs Coast, with extensive racing on roads in the Nambucca Valley.
The rally will return to the Valley in November – but it will not run here in 2020, with the FIA instead adding rounds in New Zealand, Japan and Kenya.
35 photos from the 2018 Coffs Coast World Rally showdown – Photos; Bellingen Courier-Sun
Rally Australia chairman Andrew Papadopoulos said the organisation was disappointed to miss out on 2020, but had been advised it was included on draft calendars from 2021. Rally Australia signalled it would use next year to develop a bigger and better event.
“The new rotation policy involving Rally Australia and two other established rallies is a reflection of the fast- growing popularity of the FIA World Rally Championship and pressure on the FIA and organising company WRC Promoter GmbH to accommodate more countries in the series,” Mr Papadopoulos said.
“Chile joined the championship this year and other countries are keen to join. Japan and Kenya are joining in 2020.
“We’re extremely proud of Rally Australia’s standing as one of the best-run WRC events over 27 years. The WRC is unquestionably one of the most exciting series in motorsport – the competition is incredibly close and the action and drama unmatched – and we’ll be ready to take our place again on the world stage from 2021.
“We’re also proud that Rally Australia has helped generate millions of dollars in direct economic benefit and global publicity since the event came to NSW in 2009.
“Rally Australia acknowledges the incredible support we’ve received from every part of the Coffs Coast community, which has generously welcomed the WRC.
“Meanwhile, we still have a WRC rally to stage in 47 days’ time and our wonderful team of staff and officials will be working hard to ensure it’s the best the Coffs Coast has seen.”
The 27th Australian WRC event, Kennards Hire Rally Australia, will run on the Coffs Coast and in Nambucca on November 14-17.
AAP – 1 October, 2019