Report into China's possible return delays 2016 WRC calendar

The 2016 World Rally Championship calendar has been delayed by an FIA observer's report pointing out significant issues with the candidate rally to assess China's possible return

Report into China's possible return delays 2016 WRC calendar

Those close to the FIA and WRC Promoter are confident the problems experienced on August's Beijing Huairou Rally can be overcome, though, in time for the event to occupy a September or October slot next season.

WRC Promoter's proposed schedule was due to be put to the WRC Commission in Paris last week, but that has been delayed by a fortnight to September 17 to allow further discussion on China's future.

The Commission will be asked to vote on the calendar one day later, and it is still expected to go to the World Motor Sport Council on September 30.

"It was decided to postpone the date for WRC Promoter to submit the 2016 calendar proposal until September 17," WRC Promoter's Oliver Ciesla told AUTOSPORT.

"The additional days will allow time to finalise the required formal preconditions where still outstanding."

FIA president Jean Todt has emphasised the governing body's jurisdiction over the number of rallies, but it is widely expected to be 12 or 13 rounds - in keeping with the desire of manufacturers - rather than expanding to 14 rallies.

AUTOSPORT understands all current WRC rounds except for Rally Germany and the Tour de Corse have signed the required event promotion agreement with WRC Promoter.

Sources close to the FIA are confident Germany will find agreement quickly and Trier is included on the working calendar, while China and France still have question marks.

CHINA REPORT SUBMITTED

Drafting in experts from around the world to help, in the same way Japan and Turkey did for their first WRC events, will be key to China's return to the calendar.

Non-competitive traffic on Beijing Huairou Rally's stages - immediately before the route went live and during the live stages - is the primary concern.

The report into the candidate event states: "A system needs to be put in place to inform the local residents, including local civil and police officials, of the running of the rally and what it means to using the roads; we cannot accept the kind of traffic witnessed now on the stages during road closure."

Mapping the route and the area, providing documentation in English and finding more competitive mileage are the other challenges raised from the report.

FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen, who attended the event, said in his accompanying note: "[Rally organisers] have to present the whole itinerary and it should be inspected before they may be included in the championship.

"A big challenge may be to get all the necessary permits from the different authorities which guarantee a smooth running of the rally."

Mahonen did, though, add: "The area, where the possible WRC rally would take place, offers multiple options for an HQ and service park. There are many conference centres around with plenty of good level of accommodation.

"There are many excellent media opportunities within close range."

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