WRC: China troubles 'derail' 2017 calendar

2016-09-02 13:40:05

The FIA's intention to reveal the 2017 World Rally Championship calendar this month has been derailed by the cancellation of Rally China, according to FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen.

China's late departure from this year's schedule has forced the FIA and WRC Promoter to begin new discussions with the Beijing-based event, while also reconsidering the logistics of the calendar.

Mahonen admitted the loss of China had multiple implications.

"Everything was looking good and we were happy with 2017 now this happens we have to go back to the drawing board and push the puzzles around," he said. "I think it's fair to say China has derailed the calendar for next year."

In the coming days, the first three rounds of the 2017 season will be confirmed as Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico, despite further troubles for the WRC's only winter rally earlier this year.

A lack of snow and ice almost caused the cancellation of Rally Sweden this February and the organizers' plan to move north to the more snow-sure Torsby has been hit by a lack of accommodation  a situation the FIA requires an imminent resolution to.

"We must be able to guarantee an accommodation situation that works," event CEO Glenn Olsson said. "The worst thing is if we do not organize the accommodation then we disappear from [current host region] Varmland. Where to go, I do not know."

When the full schedule is announced in October or November, it should include a more regular balance of different surfaces. This year's calendar featured six straight gravel rallies between Mexico in March and Finland at the end of July.

"The [2016] calendar is not balanced," Mahonen said. "We shouldn't have six gravel rallies in a row and then we have two big gaps  we don't need the gap between Argentina and Portugal. We would like to see Corsica back to its spring date, running in April."


Originally on Autosport.com

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