A 14-round 2011 World Rally Championship calendar will be put forward to the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Bahrain next month. Among the most interesting inclusions is understood to be a brand new rally in Abu Dhabi, which looks to have replaced Jordan as the Middle East event on the schedule. The Yas Marina-based event will run as an official candidate rally - complete with specifically constructed roads through the desert - in December.
WRC promoter North One Sport is said to have left the opening event in the calendar blank, indicating a rally in January. The global promoter of the WRC is hoping for a successful outcome to ongoing negotiations with the Automobile Club de Monaco, which would return the Monte Carlo Rally to the opening slot of WRC for the first time in two years.
Rally Sweden returns as round two for next year, following a successful event earlier this month. The other rallies listed are: Rally Mexico, Rally Portugal, Abu Dhabi Rally, Rally Argentina, Rally Italy (running in Sardinia again, but with a mainland start – reckoned to be in Rome), Rally of Turkey, Rally Finland, Rally Germany, Rally Australia, Rally France, Catalunya Rally, and Rally GB.
The two reserve rallies are rumored to be Rally Norway, which could step in as an opener if Monte Carlo remains in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, and Rally Poland, which enjoyed an enormously successful return to the WRC last season.
North One Sport CEO Simon Long refused to comment on the calendar, beyond stating: "Anything which we proposed to the WRC Commission on Wednesday is subject to World Motor Sport Council. We have put a huge amount of work into this and we believe the calendar is in the best interest of all involved."