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Rally USA a potential contender to join WRC in 2024

The World Rally Championship could add a round in North America next year as plans to break into the region progress.

Miki Biasion, Tiziano Siviero, Lancia Delta Integrale

The WRC has long held an ambition to secure a foothold in the USA, with the American market deemed a key battleground for championship stakeholders and a region with growing support for rallying.

Rallying's top tier last visited the USA in 1988 when the Olympus Rally in Washington was won by Lancia's Miki Biasion.

Speaking to Autosport at last weekend's Monte Carlo Rally, WRC event director Simon Larkin said that talks have progressed between WRC Promoter and a USA regional government.

The potential location for the event is yet to be disclosed, but it would appear likely a gravel-based rally is the preferred option.

"I think by the time we get to the end of March we will have a definitive clear and succinct statement about our ambitions for a Rally USA in 2024," said Larkin.

When asked if Rally USA is a contender to join the championship in 2024, he said: "Absolutely, we have worked for a lot of time on this and it is getting to a make or break in terms of a location and the regional government which we are working with there.

"We hope to have a test event this year ready for 2024."

A round in the United States has been a long-term goal of American brand Ford, which currently competes in a semi-works relationship through M-Sport in the WRC's top Rally1 tier.

"I think an event in North America is part and parcel of why Ford wants to be involved," M-Sport team principal Richard Millener told Autosport in 2021.

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: M-Sport

"We want to see an event, it is a huge market that is currently untapped. They have got some great facilities, great roads and great opportunities to do something."

The WRC's control tyre supplier Pirelli is also supportive of the championship's plan to move into North America having witnessed the benefits of Formula 1's recent boom in the region.

"America is a very important market for us," said Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola in Monte Carlo last week.

"We are happy to have three races with Formula 1 in America and a WRC event would be ideal for us.

"We know there is a lot of culture around gravel and dirt tracking in America, so I believe a gravel rally in America would be a great addition to the calendar. I hope they can finalise it."

Should plans for a USA event come to fruition, it may not be the only new round on the 2024 calendar, with the WRC keen to add a trip to the Middle East after hopes for an event in 2023 fell over late last year.

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