Turkey, Croatia set to join 2018 WRC calendar

Rally Turkey looks to be closing on a return to the WRC calendar next year, with Croatia also tipped for a spot on the 2018 schedule.

Turkey, Croatia set to join 2018 WRC calendar
Daniel Sordo and Marc Marti, Citroën C4 Citroën Total World Rally Team
Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin
Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor, Ford Focus RS WRC 08, Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team
Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin, Ford Focus RS WRC 08, Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, Ford Focus RS WRC08, BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Teemu Suninen, Mikko Markkula, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Mads Ostberg, Ola Floene, Ford Fiesta WRC

Though New Zealand had initially been thought the most likely addition to the 2018 WRC schedule, Motorsport.com understands its hopes have diminished.

Sources within world rallying’s promoter and governing body have confirmed that Turkey is ready with a new gravel rally, most likely set for a September date next season.

Turkey last appeared on the WRC calendar in 2010, which was its sixth appearance in the world championship as it held rounds between 2003 and 2006 as well as in 2008.

WRC Promoter will present its 2018 calendar to the WRC Commission meeting in Germany later this month, where Rally Poland’s fate is expected to be decided.

The Mikolajki-based event is thought almost certain to be dropped next year after spectator control problems last month.

Croatia’s hopes of hosting its first-ever WRC round depend on Poland being ditched.

Prime minister Andrej Plenkovic met a WRC delegation in Croatia's capital Zagreb earlier this year, where discussions centred on strong government support for a mixed-surface event.

One source said: “If Poland goes and the promoter is still pushing for 14 rounds next year then the understanding is that Croatia’s in.

"If Poland is lost – and all indications are that this will be the case – then it depends if the promoter can convince the FIA of Croatia’s readiness and the manufacturers of its value.”

Officials within the New Zealand camp are said to be bemused at their fall from grace.

They remain, however, committed to a candidate event the weekend after Rally Australia in November and to a WRC return as soon as possible.

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