The potential for a Latvian round of the 2020 World Rally Championship is strengthening amid fears a potential second coronavirus wave could strike the series later this year.
The prospect of the European Rally Championship’s Rally Liepāja as a WRC round was initially dismissed in some corners of the service park.
But the event and its August 14-16 date is being seen as an increasingly attractive proposition as WRC Promoter pushes to get this year’s World Rally Championship back up and running as soon as possible.
With no competitive WRC action since March’s Rally México, there are growing concerns over a proposal to re-start the season with Rally Estonia in September.
One source said: “That would mean we’re still more than two months away from seeing any WRC competition.
“If we go in Liepāja, at least we have something. We have some rallying. Problem is with moving all events to the short time towards the end of the year, if the second coronavirus [wave] is coming then we are finished again.
“Better to start sooner and make some sport as quickly as we can. Latvia is a good solution for this.”
There are also concerns at the calendar changes proposed by Ypres Rally’s Alain Penasse. Penasse told DirtFish that Rally Turkey would have to move forward by a week to allow the Belgian classic to run on a preferred October 2-4 date.
The source said: “If we move Turkey, look to the dates and the logistics. It means we make [schedule] four rallies in seven weeks. This will be difficult for the teams and for everybody. It’s worrying that we make everything towards the end of the year and it becomes such a big stretch for the logistics.”
The Latvian rally was last week revealed to be in talks with WRC Promoter, and Rally Liepāja promoter RA Events’ Raimonds Strokśs has admitted there is significant work required to bring the WRC to Latvia.
“This will be a very challenging task as there is less than two months until the set event date,” said Strokśs.
“We will invite our partners – the Government of Latvia, our rally cities Liepāja and Talsi – to a discussion, in order to evaluate all the organizational workload, financial conditions and other aspects of the proposal.
“Only by working together and at a very rapid pace can we find a solution to host an FIA WRC round in Latvia alongside the FIA ERC.”