WRC - WRC close to sealing China return

China's return to the World Rally Championship looks a strong possibility next season - despite growing concerns from the manufacturers.

AutoSport

The calendar for next year's WRC will be discussed at WRC Commission on May 24 and potentially ratified by World Motor Sport Council a month later.

It could well include Chinese round for the first time since Didier Auriol won the sole WRC event there in 1999.

Asked to rate the chances of returning to China next season, WRC manager Michele Mouton told AUTOSPORT: "We are working for that next season."

Citroen team principal Yves Matton said China and the other BRIC countries were appealing to the WRC, but they had to deliver value.

"It will take us three days to get the trucks to this place, this will be very expensive," said Matton.

"We don't want to go all the way there and spend all of that money to have a rally in the middle of nowhere.

"Being in a small town is OK, providing we have the right promotion. But being in a big city would be better."

Volkswagen's Jost Capito added: "If we want China and other rallies, we have to be assured they are WRC standard and I don't see that.

"We shouldn't go to China whatever the cost is. If the rally's not to WRC level, don't go.

"There's not so much wrong with this calendar. Yes, we need some more events outside of Europe, but they have to be at the right standard and quality, otherwise they are going to bring the whole world championship down.

"If you go to a new country and they are at a low level, it devalues the whole championship; people will look at it and say, 'is this shit everywhere?'"

Mouton insisted that the Commission would not allow a sub-standard event to make it onto the schedule.

"If we put an event on the calendar, it's because we believe that they have everything for the infrastructure, otherwise there is no point," she said.

View Comments (1)