World Rally Championship drivers would welcome Rally USA into the calendar next season, but would be sad to see it take Rally México’s place.
A return to the USA has long been a target for the WRC and all its stakeholders, with no WRC rally run in the States since Miki Biasion won the 1988 Olympus Rally.
But there was positive news last week with the confirmation of a demonstration event in Tennessee in April, with the idea of running a candidate event in September as well.
If those prove successful, the USA could be added to the WRC calendar as soon as 2024.
But DirtFish has learned that this would most likely be at the expense of México, with WRC Promoter event director Simon Larkin explaining that two events in the Americas is the target, and Rally Chile has already signed a “multi-year” deal.
México, which first ran in 2004, returned to the WRC after a three-year COVID-19-enforced absence last weekend.
Hyundai’s Dani Sordo told DirtFish there should be room for both the USA and México on the calendar.
“I think both can be nice,” he said.
“If we need to choose one, I don’t know because I don’t know America. But I think Argentina, México, these are rallies that need to be in the calendar.
“It’s like Monte Carlo. We need to have it there because the rally needs these people and the spectators.
“These people love all the drivers and support all the people and that’s why rally needs to come here. It’s nice to drive on these roads full of people.”
Gus Greensmith, who won WRC2 last weekend, agreed with Sordo.
“It’s nice to see us going to different places, I think some of the classics like México is always good,” he told DirtFish.
“I think we’ve questioned whether we could do America over Chile – just a personal preference would be one idea.
“But for sure it’s about time we go to the United States. It’s been a long time coming.”
Asked for his thoughts about the USA potentially replacing México, Ott Tänak focused on the benefits the US would bring to the WRC.
“America is a necessary market for sure,” the M-Sport Ford driver told DirtFish.
“It’s a place where we should go. In the end it’s in America, so we’ve never been and we know it’s a big market.
“So I would definitely like to go there.”
Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta added: “Well, of course, a new rally is always interesting and I have never been to the USA, to be honest. I’ve never been, even on my holiday or anything.
“So yeah, I’m happy to come and to see how is the roads and, yeah, it’s always nice to have a new rally.”
Katsuta’s team principal, Jari-Matti Latvala, feels both USA and México would be worthy of a place on the calendar, but suggested that the US was a more important market for the WRC.
Latvala told DirtFish: “I mean, generally speaking, it would be great to have a rally in the United States because I think there was twice in the ‘80s [sic: three times].
“But it’s a big car market, there’s 300 million people living there. If it’s possible, I think we would be really great to see. I think all the manufacturers are feeling positive about it to go to the US.
“Rally México is a good rally, I mean they have organized a good job here as well. But, yeah, at the end of the day we can’t have all the rallies in the championship so I don’t know,” he added.
“Maybe if there is a chance we should try to see the American soil, how it is over there. And if they both can be in the championship, of course it’s good.”