Motorsport UK already working on Rally GB return after WRC '21 axing

Motorsport UK has confirmed that work is already underway to try and bring about the UK's swift return to the World Rally Championship after it was dropped for 2021

Motorsport UK already working on Rally GB return after WRC '21 axing

Months of uncertainty around the 2021 instalment of Rally GB were finally ended on Friday afternoon when the WRC Promoter managing director confirmed it would not take place due to funding constraints.

It makes way for the Ypres Rally, although when exactly it will take place in August has yet to be confirmed.

It had been hoped Northern Ireland would take on the mantle of staging the British round of the series, but proponent Bobby Willis failed to convince Tourism Northern Ireland chiefs the £2million needed was, in fact, a sensible way to spend public money in the mouth of the coronavirus health pandemic.

That is despite the current Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis MP, telling a Select Committee he was "excited" at the idea of the WRC visiting the province for the first time since 2009.

Willis remains optimistic he can make the numbers add up and continues to receive the backing of top drivers, including Hyundai Motorsport's Craig Breen, and North Antrim MP Ian Paisley who is also the Chair of the Northern Ireland Motorsport Taskforce. Motorsport UK is also committed to the cause.

Its CEO, Hugh Chambers, said: "Against the economic backdrop of COVID-19, it is unfortunate that the requisite funding could not be agreed to secure the UK's position within the 2021 calendar.

"Motorsport UK is working to secure sustainable funding for the event's early return to the FIA World Rally Championship calendar.

"Those efforts include maintaining a close dialogue with the Welsh Government and other regions in order that UK fans can enjoy the incredible spectacle of the World Rally Championship at the earliest opportunity."

Save for 2020 and 2021, the UK has been a mainstay of the WRC every year since the competition came into being back in 1973.

The FIA's Rally Director Yves Matton paid tribute to Willis - who helped to revive the Circuit of Ireland and paved the way for its inclusion in the European Rally Championship.

"The 2021 WRC calendar has been developed against the backdrop of the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and we knew we would possibly face ongoing issues in this new year," said Matton.

"Bobby Willis and his team have put in a lot of work and efforts to bring the WRC to Northern Ireland and we're very disappointed there will be no rally in the UK this year."

shares
comments
UK loses 2021 WRC calendar slot to inaugural Belgian round
Previous article

UK loses 2021 WRC calendar slot to inaugural Belgian round

Next article

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2022 Plus

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2022

The World Rally Championship welcomed in a new hybrid era in 2022, presenting an unknown challenge to the planet's top rally aces. New records were broken, as Toyota's leading charge became the youngest-ever title-winner, while familiar returning faces mixed it up with the new generation. Autosport picks out the 10 best performers from the year

WRC
Dec 5, 2022
The key steps on Rovanpera's romp to a history-making WRC title Plus

The key steps on Rovanpera's romp to a history-making WRC title

With only cameo roles played by legendary Sebastiens Ogier and Loeb, Kalle Rovanpera ushered in the new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship by becoming its youngest champion. Here's how Toyota's Flying Finn crushed the competition, led by Hyundai's departing star Ott Tanak

WRC
Dec 1, 2022
How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book Plus

How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book

At the tender age of 22, Kalle Rovanpera is redefining what’s possible to achieve in rallying and inspiring a new legion of fans as a result. The newly-crowned World Rally Championship title-winner and his peers reflect on his ability and the start of his success in the top tier

WRC
Nov 26, 2022
How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party Plus

How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

Thierry Neuville signed off the 2022 World Rally Championship season with his second win of the season in Japan after Toyota rival Elfyn Evans suffered a late puncture. With Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera also delayed by punctures and incidents, it opened the door for Neuville and Ott Tanak to record Hyundai's second 1-2 of the season in Toyota's own backyard

WRC
Nov 14, 2022
The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer Plus

The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer

Sebastien Ogier might be the outgoing World Rally champion, but it didn’t stop him reminding everyone of the skills that made him an eight-time world champion. As victory at Rally Spain led Toyota’s charge to a titles clean sweep, it did pose a question to newly-crowned champion Kalle Rovanpera which he could not answer

WRC
Oct 24, 2022
Autosport gets to grips as a WRC co-driver Plus

Autosport gets to grips as a WRC co-driver

The majority of headlines may focus on the exploits of drivers in the World Rally Championship, but the challenges facing their co-drivers are no less demanding. Autosport got in the passenger seat with Toyota Gazoo Racing to find out just what it takes to succeed

WRC
Oct 6, 2022
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Plus

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
Oct 3, 2022
How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career Plus

How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career

Motorsport can be brutal at times. One moment a driver can be the next big thing, but it can spiral in the other direction so quickly. Thankfully, sometimes drivers receive second chances. And Esapekka Lappi has taken his World Rally Championship lifeline in both hands

WRC
Sep 28, 2022