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GP Week : Issue 28
>>WRCnews Filling the breach 2008 events out of ’09 on rotation make plans GRADUALLY taking shape are the plans of World Championship event organisers whose events are not included in the 2009 calendar, having been temporarily relegated from the series under the rotation system. Momentum of organisation is an essential ingredient for success of future events in order to maintain commercial support, the availability and support of local communities and the availability of the qualified people to run the events. Nine events run in 2008 do not appear on the 2009 calendar – and each seems to have its own particular agenda on what will happen that year. Monte Carlo was the first rally to declare its intentions, signing up to become a round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC). They have accepted the chance to continue their concept of an old-time event with a three day event which encompasses the traditional stages in the Ardeche, Vercors and Alpes Maritimes regions, and finishes late on a Friday night. Next to go missing in 2009 is Sweden. 2008 has been a difficult year in Swedish rally sport, global warming creating great problems. Various national championship events have had to be cancelled or postponed, including the national championship section of the 2008 World Championship event. Apart from the chance to pool resources, material and human, with the neighbouring Rally Norway with whom the Swedish Rally is paired, the Swedish federation has decided to spend their energies assuming control of national championship events. One of the national events will be based at Hagfors and use the existing superspecial course in Karlstad. In this way the promoters of the Swedish Rally will keep their momentum in Karlstad alive. Jordan always knew its event would not feature in the 2009 calendar, and has the advantage of running its MERC regional rally every year. The 2009 regional rally will continue to use the World Championship’s Dead Sea location as its base, and provide the chance to develop the ideas they put into effect at WRC level in 2008. In Turkey, motorsport is still very active even without a World Rally Championship event. Event Secretary Serhan Acar explains: “We are already active with the Istanbul Rally in May, which counts for both the ERC and the IRC, as well as the F1 Grand Prix in August. It means that the only thing we will miss in 2009 will be a major event at Kemer.” The latest rally to announce its plans is Corsica, which is planning a Targa-type event, five days long, admitting all sorts of cars, some in outright competition and the others in a high speed touring capacity. Heading this project is Alain Mahe, the co-driver who personally won the Tour de Corse five times. Another rally seriously looking at options is Germany. One intriguing option is to run an event for the amazing collection of rally cars which stretch back over the last 30 years, assembled by the national ‘Slowly Sideways’ group of enthusiasts. The members brought their cars to the recent Eifel Rally in Germany in incredible numbers. The only country which so far has not expressed any plans on how to handle their ‘gap year’ in 2009 is Japan. The Japanese are currently still to run their 2008 event at their new venue in Sapporo. When 2009 is done, then comes the questions of what will happen to events which currently are not on the list for the 2010 season. Even more events will be missing in 2010 than in 2009, and the theme among these organisers at this time is to play the political card and try to reverse the FIA’s rotation decision one way or another. Famous established events are heavily stressing the advantages of running so- called ‘classic’ rallies every year and rotating only events which are newer in the series. Currently the FIA’s resolve to proceed with the rotation system among the whole pool of 24 available events is firm. The Kronos BF Goodrich S2000 The Slowly Sideways cars in Germany waiting for a place to go. 17