Rally di Roma to “keep the door open” for WRC deal

Last weekend's successful ERC season opener prompted talk of the Italian capital replacing Sardinia on the world stage


Rally di Roma boss Max Rendina says he won’t close the door on the potential for bringing the World Rally Championship to his event.

Last week’s Fiuggi-based rally is currently a round of the European Rally Championship and Rendina told DirtFish that’s where it will stay for the immediate future. Longer-term, he’s tempted by the bright lights of the world championship.

Italy has a contract with the WRC Promoter for the next three years, but that agreement is with the nation’s ASN, Automobile Club d’Italia and not with the Sardinian hosts.

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla’s presence at last weekend’s Rally di Roma set made for further service park speculation about a move back to the mainland.

Asked about his WRC ambitions for Rally di Roma, Rendina told DirtFish: “Right now, it’s not possible. For now, at the moment, we are very happy with Eurosport [and the ERC], they are a great partner for a great event. But we consider all options for the future, including the World Rally Championship, obviously.


Photo: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

“In this moment we’re very happy to see [Italy’s WRC round] in Sardinia, it’s a great and very spectacular race on the gravel.

“But we don’t close the door, we keep the door open for WRC.”

Ciesla warned against reading too much into his presence in Rome, saying: “This was a good chance to come and meet some of our partners from the WRC service park – it’s been a long time since we were together and able to meet face-to-face, so for this it was good.”

Asked about Sardinia’s future in the WRC, Ciesla added: “The agreement is there for this year and for 2021, so it’s not possible to do anything with Rome in those years. But if you ask me about anything beyond that, it’s the future and I don’t know about that.”

Ciesla doesn’t know about that because he departs the WRC Promoter at the end of this week, having stayed on to help the series through the coronavirus-enforced calendar disruptions.

Both Hyundai drivers Dani Sordo and Craig Breen were in favor of Rome running in the WRC. The Spaniard, who won Rally Stars Roma told DirtFish: “The roads were sometimes like Corsica, some like Monte Carlo. They were good fun and they could be good for the WRC.”

Breen added: “The roads we used on Sunday were world class and the ones on Saturday even more so. I could imagine a world car down those stages would be something special.”

Italy’s Sardinian-based round of the WRC is scheduled to run on a revised date at the end of October this year.