Much leeway granted to rally organisers
The FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting held in Paris on Wednesday resulted in many decisions being taken in regards to the future of several racing series, including the World Rally Championship.
The FIA confirmed
that the introduction of 1600cc turbo engines into the WRC has been brought forward to the 2011 season in order to allow automobile manufacturers "to bring it in line with the engine used in the cars on sale to the public."
Initially, the plan was for normally-aspirated 2000cc engines to begin in 2011, followed by the 1600cc turbos two years later. That project has now been replaced by the above.
Rally organisers have been given "flexibility to evolve the character of their events to create a unique flavour," meaning that the format of rally events may change with each destination as organisers have been given much leeway to take advantage of opportunities.
Beginning with the 2010 season, rallies may range from no less than two days to a maximum four days, as long as they end on a Saturday or Sunday.
Mixed-surface rallies will be allowed for all events, as was seen this year in Cyprus where the first day of racing was held on asphalt before moving to gravel for the remainder of the rally.
Of note, the FIA has granted much freedom to organisers concerning mixed-surface events: starting next year, rallies may offer different surfaces not only during the course of the event, but may do so over the itinerary of a single day and even within the stages themselves.
2010 will see the appearance of a 'WRC Cup' reserved for Super 2000 cars. Teams wishing to participate must contest at least seven rallies, "including at least one outside Europe." Conditions for registering in the WRC Cup will be detailed at a later date.
The provisional 13 dates and destinations of the next World Rally Championship are as follows:
14 February Sweden
07 March Mexico
04 April Jordan
18 April Turkey
09 May New Zealand
30 May Portugal
11 July Bulgaria*
01 August Finland
22 August Germany
12 September Japan
03 October France
24 October Spain
14 November Great Britain
* Subject to the 2009 Observer's Report.