The immediate future of the Rally of Scotland has been safeguarded after the event's promoter confirmed it will run next season.
Despite the sporting success of the Rally of Scotland, there had been growing concern the event's inability to make a profit could force the promoter, International Motor Sport, to can it. Andrew Coe, IMS chief executive, has denied that is the case, but admitted the rally urgently needs a title sponsor.
With the event already facing a big bill from the Forestry Commission for use of the roads, the inclusion of venues such as Blari Castle, Scone Palace and Stirling Castle added to the overall cost. IMS has had to step in to underwrite that deficit.
Coe said: "There's a business plan in place for this event and it is sustainable, there's no doubt about that. The funding for this event is not on the same scale as in the World Rally Championship, so we need a commercial sponsor. We couldn't have wished for a better event to start with, except for the terrible weather – which undoubtedly hit spectator numbers.
"We have had the maximum possible exposure for this event and we've already made good contact with possible partners for the future."
Coe added that he hoped the event would receive support from both the British and Scottish Rally Championships. "I'm going to be talking to both the British and Scottish series and let them know that this is a natural fit for them – it's just the kind of rally which would work well in their calendars. This would add to the profile of those series and it would bring more competitors."
Another concern for next year's Rally of Scotland is an October date just two weeks after the McRae Stages, which uses the same roads. Under current recce regulations, anybody tackling the McRae would not be permitted to compete on the Rally of Scotland. Coe said this was under control.
"We don't want to have events clashing," he said. "So we're looking at other forests [for Rally of Scotland]. Scotland is blessed with some of the best forests around. It's difficult, the date is dictated to us by the promoter (IRC). We could have run in three months' time at the start of the season, or we could run in October, which is what we've gone for."