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Thirteen new events chasing World Rally Championship calendar slots

The World Rally Championship looks set for significant change with up to 13 new or returning events vying for calendar slots

Abu Dhabi, Canada, Chile, Croatia, India, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Russia and Turkey are reported to be at various stages of readiness to run a candidate or even full WRC round.

FIA president Jean Todt is pushing for a more global calendar, having expressed concern at the Euro-centric schedule.

"This is a world championship and our calendar needs to better reflect that," said Todt.

The 2016 WRC calendar has 10 events in Europe and four elsewhere, including this year's return to China.

Autosport understands substantial changes to the line-up are possible as early as next season.

"There's real pressure on rallies now," said one source. "These countries are serious and they're coming with a very strong proposition.

"For example, we're missing a really rough rally in the style of the Acropolis or Cyprus - but Turkey fits that bill very well.

"The proposal from them is away from Istanbul and all the hassle that brought and back to Antalya; at the right time of the year, this could be a great rough-road rally."

FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen admitted such demand did bring its own headache.

"We have committed to the manufacturers to keep the calendar at 14 rallies," Mahonen told Autosport, "so simply increasing the number of rallies each season isn't an option.

"But we have to do something. If we stay [with the current rallies] then nothing will ever change.

"How do you value 60 years of experience compared to somebody else who will pay more? It's a difficult balance."

ABU DHABI FAVOURITE FOR MIDDLE EAST SLOT

Though Jordan's bid for a WRC return has royal backing, it is believed to be a long shot for a calendar place.

Jordan's Prince Feisal Al-Hussein said: "Motorsport has a rich tradition here in Jordan from the legacy of King Hussein.

"King Abdullah is also keen on motorsport and we work as a team to promote the sport.

"We are surrounded, here in Jordan, by war and political problems, but we want to see sport thrive in the region.

"We are keen for the WRC to return and want to see what the promoter requires for this to progress."

Autosport understands Abu Dhabi is WRC Promoter's preference for a Middle East round.

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