Formula 1
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
42 days
MotoGP
28 Mar
FP1 in
19 days
R
Doha GP
02 Apr
Next event in
26 days
Formula E
R
Rome ePrix
10 Apr
Next event in
34 days
IndyCar
R
Birmingham
16 Apr
Next event in
40 days
23 Apr
Next event in
47 days

WRC set to shelve Rally Japan plan from 2019 calendar

Rally Japan’s return to the World Rally Championship is expected to be canned at Friday’s meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, according to Motorsport.com sources.

WRC set to shelve Rally Japan plan from 2019 calendar

The Honshu-based event, which is scheduled to run its candidate rally next month, was dropped to reduce a proposed 15-round calendar to a more financially viable 14.

The decision was taken at an extraordinary meeting of the WRC Commission on Thursday. 

Motorsport.com understands that the FIA invited WRC Promoter to ‘review’ its initial 14-round proposal to include the Tour de Corse. It was this 15-round proposal which went into the Paris meeting on Thursday. The French island event has retained its place on the WRC calendar for next season.

Earlier this year, managing director of WRC Promoter Oliver Ciesla spoke with confidence about Japan’s first return to the world championship since 2010.

Ciesla said: “[It’s] great news we can confirm the WRC Promoter came to an agreement with Rally Japan to host an event in Japan from the start of 2019.

“The proposal will now go to the FIA World Motor Sport Council where we assume we will get a positive approval to bring the rally back to Japan and then the event will take place from 2019 for probably four years.

“We are very much looking forward to being back in Japan.”

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: Toyota Racing

'Difficult' meeting

WRC Promoter’s deal with Rally Japan appears to have counted for little in what was described as a ‘difficult’ meeting.

One source said: “It’s not so easy now, both [FIA and WRC Promoter] want to go in their direction, but 15 rounds was impossible. Hyundai told [the meeting] this would be costing another one million Euro. The others all agree. 

“But finally, we get the calendar. It’s October now, the middle of October and now we can know what is coming next year. That’s something positive.”

The decision will not sit easily with Toyota – the Japanese manufacturer had worked hard to promote the potential for a WRC return to its homeland next season.

Motorsport.com understands the manufacturers were told next year’s rise to a 14th event wouldn’t cost them anything in terms of logistics, with Chile and Japan both footing the bill for taking the series to their countries.

The teams will now be forced to find budget to return to Corsica. In an effort to offset those costs, the FIA has reportedly offered a 50 percent reduction in championship registration.

In addition to the calendar discussion, the meeting also discussed the merits of WRC2 Pro, which will be a manufacturer-only division of the current WRC2 class. The current WRC2 award will be open to privateer drivers only. 

There were no discussions of running bigger restrictors on R5 cars to bolster them to a so-called R5+ category.

The calendar and WRC2 proposals now go forward to Friday’s WMSC, where they will be voted on by all world council members.

shares
comments
Can Meeke be a WRC title contender at Toyota?

Previous article

Can Meeke be a WRC title contender at Toyota?

Next article

Corsica and Chile confirmed in 14-round WRC schedule

Corsica and Chile confirmed in 14-round WRC schedule
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Author David Evans
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Prime

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Prime

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener.

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Prime

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021
The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020

A drastically-shortened 2020 season gave the World Rally Championship protagonists precious little stage mileage to strut their stuff, but as ever the cream rose to the top across the seven events. We rank the year's best performers

WRC
Jan 4, 2021
The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season Prime

The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season

The 2020 World Rally Championship bestrode all 12 months of the Gregorian calendar, and in terms of the competition it was a cracker. Moreover, it was an inspiration in dark days for the world and our industry.

WRC
Jan 1, 2021
The early setbacks that shaped the WRC's greatest driver Loeb Prime

The early setbacks that shaped the WRC's greatest driver Loeb

A series of close calls in his formative years threatened to leave rallying's top echelon tantalisingly out of reach for the man who would go on to claim nine WRC titles. In an exclusive interview, Sebastien Loeb recalls the key steps on his road to dominance.

WRC
Dec 11, 2020
Why the WRC's unorthodox Monza ending was a necessary one Prime

Why the WRC's unorthodox Monza ending was a necessary one

The Monza Rally was an unusual way to end an unusual WRC season, and while far from ideal, without it the series could have faced serious ramifications. To persuade stakeholders to commit to an uncertain future, Monza was an important showcase…

WRC
Dec 9, 2020