Slovakia to replace Argentina on 2018 WTCR calendar

The World Touring Car Cup's Termas de Rio Hondo round has been dropped for 2018 and will be replaced by an event at the Slovakia Ring, Autosport has learned

The Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina was a permanent fixture on the World Touring Car Championship calendar from 2013 until the category's final season last year, and had secured a slot on the schedule for the new WTCR world cup that has succeeded the WTCC.

It was due to host the sixth round of the 2018 season on the first weekend of August, bridging the gap between the end of the European season in Vila Real in late June and the Asian leg of the calendar that begins at Ningbo in China (on September 29-30).

But Termas has now been removed from the schedule due to economic difficulties in Argentina, after WTCR organiser Eurosport Events met with authorities in Buenos Aires.

Dakar Rally director Etienne Lavigne said earlier this month that Argentina's absence from the 2019 route - the country has hosted stages each year since the event moved to South America in '09 - was also the result of those economic issues.

These include an increase in the country's interest rate to 40%, and have resulted in Argentina applying to the International Monetary Fund for an emergency loan.

Autosport understands the decision to drop the Termas round was due to be communicated this week but that this was pushed back.

Its place will instead be taken by the Slovakia Ring, which previously hosted the WTCC from 2012-16.

The venue's place on the calendar has been approved by the FIA's touring car commission and, pending ratification, is expected to be announced with the publication of the decisions of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council meeting in Manila next Thursday.

It is understood the round will now take place on July 14-15, joining the European Truck Racing Championship that was already scheduled to visit the circuit that weekend.

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