FIA ready to trial new formats to fit 2020 rallies in

Rally director Matton concedes not all planned or postponed rounds will make cut

Tanak Hyundai Mexico WRC

Not all postponed rounds of the World Rally Championship will be found a slot on this year’s calendar – and those that do will have to be ready to consider a shorter format.

As the WRC waits for further news on the next round of the series, July’s Safari Rally, stakeholders are working together to consider various calendar permutations which could offer as much rally action as possible in the second half of the season.

With much of the world locked down because of the coronavirus pandemic, it remains impossible to know precisely when the WRC will return to action.

FIA rally director Yves Matton told DirtFish: “Honestly, I am convinced we will be able to start again from one moment during the summer, but I don’t have all the information to say 100% which events it will be.

“We are working closely with everybody with weekly meetings between WRC Promoter and the teams to have a level of information as accurate as possible on this situation of each one [event]. And what will be the process when we are able to go again to an event to start the championship.

“But it’s more a day-by-day process and today I can’t make a proper conclusion on when we will start again.”

Yves Matton

Matton admitted there would be casualties from this season’s calendar.

“I don’t think we will be able to run all the rounds this year,” he added.

“There are two different cases to consider here. The first is overseas events. Overseas events will be difficult to reschedule and fit them in the calendar in the second half of the year due to the logistics problem.

“For the moment it’s also difficult to have a clear idea on this. We need to know what will be the situation in Kenya, New Zealand and Japan – we have different information from each country.

“At one moment we will have to take some decision on where to send the containers and overseas material.

“Concerning Europe, I think it will be easier to fit in the calendar events like Portugal and Italy, but we are also working to rethink maybe the format on the events we have [had] to postpone to help include in the calendar more events in a shorter time.”

Matton was careful not to be drawn on the details of the planning, but admitted everything was on the table – including the ideas put forward by M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener last week.

“This is not the right moment to start publishing on what we are working,” he said. “But yes, we are working on some new formats on the events which need to be reincorporated to the calendar to help with the logistics.

“If we can be on-event for less time, it would help to fit more rallies in the calendar in the second half of the season.

“The priority is to keep the events which asked to be postponed in the game – this is important for the future. I don’t think we will be able to run all of the events, but it is important to find a solution to help the organisers to stay alive for the future.”