Russia, India among countries WRC teams "requesting" to visit

India and Russia are two of the countries World Rally Championship teams are “requesting” to visit in the near future, according to FIA rally director Yves Matton.

Russia, India among countries WRC teams "requesting" to visit

The manufacturers view both nations as untapped markets that could be exploited and talks are ongoing between the WRC Promoter, the FIA and teams about incorporating the countries into future calendars.

The subject has been on the agenda for some time, with the United States and China also targets.

Matton believes introducing the competition to new territories is one way of ensuring the WRC fulfils its goal of having a “global footprint”.

“The WRC Promoter - supported by the FIA - is working with ASNs [national sporting authorities] and event promoters around the globe to understand the opportunities,” Matton told Autosport.

“The WRC thrives on diversity and making the best of the local conditions, so we will continue to receive innovative proposals from around the globe - the strategy is still to have a global footprint.

“This global approach is not only the aim of the FIA but also the manufacturers - they’re requesting to go to China, Northern America, Russia, and in the future, countries like India.”

Progress is being made, with Japan - the home of Toyota - returning to the calendar this year for the first time since 2010.

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

China, meanwhile, came close to making its WRC debut in 2016 only for freak weather to destroy large parts of the route that had been earmarked for the gravel counter.

Read Also:

The series’ last foray to the US - the home market of Ford - stretches as far back as 1988.

M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener feels the added cost associated with freighting cars, equipment and personnel to a long-haul event in North America is outweighed by the media and marketing value it would generate.

“It’s always been important to explore new events in new countries,” he said.

“We can’t sit still, and if the sport is to evolve and develop, we need to ensure we’re attracting new audiences and new investment.

“The potential has to be there and the infrastructure in place to actually hold a round of the World Rally Championship, but we’ve always been open and keen to explore new markets and expand the reach of the sport.

“It wouldn’t be a world championship if we only competed in Europe, so long-haul events are integral.

“Of course, there’s a fine balance to ensuring we can incorporate these events in the most cost-effective way, but the organisers and promotor are both very proactive and will often find ways to support the teams.”

The WRC has fast-tracked multiple new events onto the schedule during the coronavirus health pandemic, including Rally Estonia and Rally Monza, with Belgium’s Ypres Rally set to join that growing list come August.

However, once the situation is brought under control with the vaccine roll-out, Matton says the FIA and WRC Promoter will “revert to a traditional application and selection procedure” for rallies.

“This ever-changing situation has required us to be more open-minded, creative and adaptable than in the past,” he explained.

“We have been able to try different things in terms of how we organise events - and it gave us the chance to be more innovative, and forward-thinking.

“The experience and new processes [that have been] developed during this period will enable us to continue having a flexible and efficient approach to building the World Rally Championship.”

shares
comments
The returning rally champion promoting mental health on the world stage
Previous article

The returning rally champion promoting mental health on the world stage

Next article

Greensmith hopeful of WRC results boost with new co-driver, engine

Greensmith hopeful of WRC results boost with new co-driver, engine
How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally Plus

How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally

The Safari Rally acted as a brutal test of driver and car resolve as multiple retirements opened the path for a historic Toyota 1-2-3-4 triumph, headed by star Kalle Rovanpera. But keeping things clean was only half of the challenge, as a well-timed charge when conditions worsened allowed the Finn to take control

WRC
11 h
How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph Plus

How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph

The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause

WRC
Jun 6, 2022
How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead Plus

How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead

Although the Rally Portugal entry list featured World Rally Championship royalty in Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier, victory was secured by rallying's rising star in Kalle Rovanpera. Here's the story of his 2022 hat-trick, as his key rivals faltered among the gravel and asphalt ahead of them

WRC
May 23, 2022
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Plus

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Plus

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Plus

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Plus

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Autosport donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the trials and tribulations of a rally mechanic

WRC
Apr 17, 2022
The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer Plus

The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer

Taking his first step into the Junior World Rally Championship category, McRae Kimathi - named after 1995 world champion Colin - found himself in the unfamiliar climes of Sweden's snow and ice. Having impressed, Kimathi hopes to blaze a trail to the top level of WRC and help other African drivers to step onto the ladder

WRC
Mar 8, 2022