Ireland and the Middle East have had their potential 2025 WRC rounds green-lit by WRC Promoter.
While the calendar for next year’s World Rally Championship will still require confirmation from the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council, WRC Promoter’s event director Simon Larkin has told DirtFish he’s confident for both new events.
Larkin, who travels to Ireland to meet with event officials next week, said: “We have been working hand-in-glove with Aiden Harper (Motorsport Ireland president) and his team. We are delighted with the enthusiasm and the work that they’ve put in and we think that the work that they have done will result in a positive response from the government for funding.”
Asked about the event’s potential for inclusion, Larkin added: “Very confident for next year.”
In January, Motorsport Ireland made the decision to use a rotating host system for the WRC’s return to the country, which will be on an initial three-year contract, finding itself unable to choose between the shortlisted candidate host locations of Waterford, Kerry and Limerick.
Larkin feels the decision to rotate through these areas will allow Ireland to add even more character to the WRC, stating: “I think it will be a great opportunity for three different regions to experience the rally and for us to have three very different flavors of event over three years.”
Ireland’s €15m bid is still under government consideration.
It’s also hoped the agreement for the WRC’s return to the Middle East could be achieved in the coming months.
If confirmed, the rally – which DirtFish understands will be held in Saudi Arabia – would return a region not served by the WRC since Jordan’s WRC departure in 2011. Larkin is confident a Middle East round could be one of the most distinctive events of the season.
He said: “Wherever we go in the Middle East it will be three different styles [of roads across the three days of the rally]. The mountain roads [which we could use] that I’ve seen will be some of the most picturesque rally roads ever.
“And then we can do a day of volcano, through all the black rocks, and suddenly just make a road wherever we want it. And there’ll be a day of desert.”
In addition to Ireland and Saudi Arabia, the WRC could be set to add even more South American flavor as early as 2025, with Paraguayan publication Última Hora reporting last week that the country is close to a three-year contract to host a WRC round from next season.
A WRC spokesperson would not confirm talks with Paraguay, but did affirm that the target is to have multiple South American rounds in the future.
“The 2025 FIA World Rally Championship calendar, and calendars beyond 2025, continue to be a work in progress,” said the spokesperson. “It has been stated in the past that two South American rounds are optimal and we are in discussions with a number of countries in order to achieve this goal.”