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Long-term WRC promotion to be discussed in Paris FIA meeting

Petter Solberg Ford WRC 2012 Germany

The long-term promotion of the World Rally Championship will be discussed at a meeting between the FIA and rally organisers in Paris next week.

A document seen by AUTOSPORT includes the agenda for the meeting, at which crucial investment plans for the future of the series are expected to be revealed.

Red Bull Media House and Sportsman Media were revealed as the WRC's new promoters in September and have attended the last three rounds of the series.

Both have remained silent on their plans for the future of the sport during that time, leading to increasing levels of disquiet among the stakeholders in the championship.

However, Monday's meeting comes at the end of a positive week amid talk of rapid and prolonged investment from the promoters. It is expected to set the tone for announcements from the promoter next month.

"They've [the new promoter] had time to have a look around and get among us," a senior source told AUTOSPORT.

"But now it's time for them to give us some news. And I'm sure that's what Monday is going to be all about.

"We've all done our homework on the companies involved and we all know they're not in the WRC to turn a profit in year one - maybe not event the couple of years following - they're in the WRC to invest in it for the long term."

The 2012 WRC season has been among the most difficult in its history. This follows its former promoter North One Sport going into liquidation last December and has included events such as the Acropolis and Rally Australia struggling to remain financially successful.

AUTOSPORT's source added: "The final few years of the ailing North One Sport era saw a trend of further and further reducing investment and increased cost-saving, putting more and more pressure on the organisers and teams to carry the financial burden.

"We are now getting a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel."

"This is a 10-year deal we're talking about and that's going to come with significant investment.

"For the event organisers and the other stakeholders, this is what they have been waiting for - investment in the championship; a promoter coming along to take some of the strain financially.

"Undoubtedly, Monday is a great chance for a line to be drawn in the sand - it's a meeting of the highest importance.

"Admittedly, the meeting won't have a huge regulatory impact, but the chance to boost confidence and set the tone for some of the more, should we say, cash-strapped, organisers is vital."

New proposed sporting regulations, guidelines for event organisers, the new FIA Rally Organisation - specifically relating to Jarmo Mahonen's role as rally director - and the timing and tracking deal are also set to be discussed.

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