How Rally México feels it and USA could slot into WRC calendar

There may only be one slot for a North American rally, but the Mexican organizers see a solution for two

Kalle Rovanperä

Rally México manager Gilles Spitallier believes back-to-back World Rally Championship weekends in the USA and México would be worth exploring for the future.

México recently made its first appearace on the WRC calendar since 2020, but its future is unclear with no agreement in place for 2024 at a time when in its neighboring country Rally USA is gathering momentum. A demonstration event for that rally will take place in April, and potentially a WRC candidate event in September.

The various stakeholders in the world championship are all keen for an event in the US given the size of the market, and WRC Promoter has told DirtFish that there are only two spots available for events in the Americas in 2024.

Rally Chile already has one of those slots for 2024 and ’25. That means México’s place on next year’s calendar could be under threat if the Chattanooga-based Rally USA proves up to the WRC’s standards.

But Spitallier – who along with Rally México director Patrick Suberville has actually been involved in Rally USA’s bid – doesn’t see why the WRC has to be limited to just two events in the Americas and proposed a solution to make running both México and the US as world championship rounds feasible.

“Rally México is very, very particular,” Spitallier told DirtFish.

“You can watch two seconds of the rally and know it’s Mexico. I think that’s really a plus for México, I think that’s a good thing for the WRC, for the championship, and that’s what we want to tell is we are here, we are ready, we can do a good event, and well we’ll see what happens with the US.


“You will have three Formula 1 events in the United States but for sure there are many financial deals that have to be dealt with, and maybe the consideration of back-to-back events could be interesting, and that’s how I would see it.

“If the teams come into the US where the shipping time is shorter, do the event in the US, roll them to Mexico and in Mexico you can decide if you go through the Atlantic or the Pacific.

“Mexico is very narrow and we’re in the middle of the country, so on either side you can go out very easily. It could be an interesting project, but then again that’s why we are the organizers of the event and not the organizers of the championship.”

Spitallier however was pleased with how the 2023 event went and is confident it was the best possible advert for why Rally México should be in the WRC.

“I think it was a good event considering that we were out for two years and during those two years many things changed in the WRC, beginning with the cars, and a lot of people [at WRC Promoter] changed,” he said.

“I don’t understand really well why it should be one or the other, because we are very close. We could do back-to-back events or something, that could even save money to the teams.

“The other thing is there are two continents in the Americas: South America and North America. At this point there is one in South America and one event in North America, so my feeling is that America [USA] is good for other events,” he added.

“Initially it was kind of weird that everybody took Rally México as a new event, but in the end we got to the point where we understood that everybody was nervous about Rally México like we were a new event in the calendar.

“I mean México was the first rally audited for the environmental accreditation with the new system, and of course that took a lot of our attention,” Spitallier added.

“We needed to get our three stars and we got them so that’s a good thing, and the electric safety was also kind of new to all of us and I know that Monte Carlo struggled a little with the new regulations for the electric cars, electric safety.

“So I think we were dealt many new cards that we had to play with in kind of a short time. Normally we start working on the rally in June and we were considered in the calendar in October, so we really had a short time to work with this rally.

“For sure we did our best and I think what we did was good.

“Now we need to understand how good Rally México was in the FIA and WRC’s eyes, and to make them consider Rally México as a full[-time] part of the WRC.

“We felt like that earlier in the old days but now I understand that things have changed a lot and there are many countries wanting to be in the championship so that’s our hope, that we keep our place in the calendar.”