WRC working on plan for 2022 USA event

The World Rally Championship is working on a plan to host a non-championship event in North America next year as it bids to secure a future WRC rally in the region.

WRC working on plan for 2022 USA event

America has emerged as a key market for the WRC to conquer having been absent from the region since the 1988 Olympus Rally in Washington, won by Lancia's Miki Biasion.

The championship sees the USA as an untapped audience and one that could prove beneficial in attracting not only new fans but potential partners.

The WRC's current footprint in North America extends thus far to Mexico, which is set to reappear on the 2022 calendar after COVID-19 saw it drop off the 2021 schedule.

American manufacturer Ford is also keen to see WRC break into the region given its role as one the championship's three marques, courtesy of the blue oval supported, British outfit M-Sport Ford.

FIA Rally Director Yves Matton has confirmed to Motorsport.com that a plan is in the works to host an event next year. This could range from a roadshow demonstration to a candidate rally that could result in a championship event on the calendar in the near future.

"For sure America is something we are working quite hard on," Matton told Motorsport.com.

"We want to have an event in the close future in North America. We will try to something in 2022, for sure it will not be an event that is part of the calendar but we will try to achieve something in 2022 to go there.

"We can have a lot of things. We can have a roadshow we can have a candidate event any form of event which could become the first step in North America with the WRC without being involved in the championship as a proper event.

"For sure not only Ford but for different stakeholders involved in championship, it is quite important to go to North America and it is important to go to some other countries like China or Russia."

Travis Pastrana, Rhianon Gelsomino, Subaru

Travis Pastrana, Rhianon Gelsomino, Subaru

Photo by: Michael Noble Jr.

M-Sport is fully behind the plans for an American event stating that such a prospect is an important reason why Ford is involved in the WRC.

Team principal Rich Millener doesn't believe an American event would increase Ford's commitment to a full WRC works outfit again with M-Sport, but it would provide a rare opportunity to boost the championship's profile in the region.

Millener says that behind the scenes the WRC promoter, Ford and M-Sport are "pushing like hell" to ensure such an event comes to fruition.

"I think an event in North America is part and parcel of why Ford wants to be involved," Millener told Motorsport.com.

"We want to see an event, it is a huge market that is currently untapped. They have got some great facilities, great roads and great opportunities to do something.

"Anything in America is always bigger and better than anything else so we'd love to get there and being the home of Ford I think that is really important.

"Whether it will change the levels they [Ford] are involved at I don't think so, but we are not looking for that change at the moment.

Read Also:

"We want to just promote the sport and I think having an event in America is good for the sport full stop. It has a huge fanbase that has not been really given the opportunity to see WRC before, so I know it's a key goal of the promoter and Ford and us.

"I think between the three parties, we will get it sorted and I believe the goal is to have an [championship] event by 2024, or even 2023, with a candidate rally in 2022. That would be fantastic.

"COVID will probably restrict what we can do up until that moment, but I know that is the current time plan and we are pushing like hell to make that achievable."

Millener confirmed that M-Sport would likely send a team to participate in a non-championship event in North America should it eventuate next year.

"I'm sure we will find a way to send a car over there to showcase what it is, whether it is current Rally1 car or a car from this year, there are still opportunities to send a driver and team over to show what is possible. We would be fully behind that," Millener added.

shares
comments

Related video

WRC not expecting new manufacturer until 2024 at the earliest
Previous article

WRC not expecting new manufacturer until 2024 at the earliest

Next article

COVID restrictions force M-Sport to skeleton staff for Safari Rally

COVID restrictions force M-Sport to skeleton staff for Safari Rally
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Prime

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Prime

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Prime

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Motorsport.com went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021