México fighting USA for 2024 calendar slot

WRC Promoter wants only two events in the Americas - and Chile has a multi-year deal


Rally México could lose its spot on the World Rally Championship calendar to the USA next season.

After two seasons on the bench in the wake of coronavirus, México returned to the WRC last weekend for the third round of the season which was won for a record-breaking seventh time by Toyota’s Sébastien Ogier.

DirtFish revealed in the lead-up to the rally that the event only had a one-year deal in place and therefore wasn’t guaranteed a slot in 2024 – although rally director Patrick Suberville shared that the rally hasn’t traditionally signed long-term deals.

But despite a broadly successful running of the event in 2023, México could be under threat from Rally USA which is gathering momentum in its bid to join the calendar.

That’s because WRC Promoter event director Simon Larkin confirmed to DirtFish that it would like only two events in the Americas and Rally Chile signed a “multi-year” deal last week.

“Our absolute ambition is to have two events in the Americas next year,” Larkin said.

“Chile is in for next year just as it is for this year. There’s a multi-year deal in Chile – so that’s one of the two slots.

“There were statements from Chattanooga earlier this week about the US joining. There’s still a lot of work to be done there. There’s a possibility for a formal test event in September; that’s not confirmed. We still have a lot of work to do in particular with the FIA over evaluating the bona fides there.

“No-one would be silly [enough] to think that that wasn’t our number one target to take the second slot, [but] if we don’t feel confident in Rally USA reaching the standard we require for a market like the US next year then maybe we look at 2025 with that and we continue with another option in the Americas.

“And for sure, México is absolutely on that list. So, indeed, is Argentina.”

Asked if that meant it would be impossible for both México and USA to feature on the 2024 calendar, Larkin said: “I would say so, yes.”

But Larkin was enthused by what he saw from Rally México last week.

“This is an event that’s always been quite dynamic from year to year, every year,” he said.

“I think it’s one of those events that I think we’ve missed quite a bit. The Mexican fans and even the atmosphere everywhere we go brings something to the WRC, whether it’s in Guanajuato on Thursday night which I think, even some of our most jaded drivers still find astonishing and some of them have probably been here 10 times.

“But the way the event changes from year to year, we’ve seen the Las Dunas stage out there which is some amazing, spectacular pictures and really quintessential of México.

“One of the things that we want every event to be is exceptionally unique – whether you see a single picture or a few seconds of footage you can identify that it’s completely different to every other event in the championship.


“I think there’s been some challenges for this event,” Larkin added.

“Three years is a long time in the WRC; the WRC evolves. Its management, its professionalism, the expectation and the demands change year on year. When you make it three years, it can be a challenge for an organization.

“Also for organizations, might I add, that probably had to get rid of most of their permanent team in 2020. So it hasn’t been without its challenges but it’s definitely been worth it to come back here.

“And I think everyone, even M-Sport who’s had a torrid weekend, would agree that this has been a worthwhile journey and it’s worthy of its slot in the calendar this year.”