WRC Calendar 2018: no NZ

WRC Calendar 2018: no NZFrom General Article [ 09/08/2017 ].
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Rally New Zealand unlikely to return to 2018 World Rally Championship. Rally New Zealand organisers today said that it is unlikely that the event will return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar next year. Latest discussions with the FIA and the World Rally Championship Promoter (WRC Promoter) suggest that expanding the 2018 Championship for a new event outside Europe will prove too challenging because of commercial considerations. The final outcome will be known next month at which time Rally New Zealand will reassess their plans for the future. Rally New Zealand spokesman Peter Johnston said his organisation is disappointed but will not give up on their long term goal of returning Rally New Zealand to the WRC calendar. Rally New Zealand has historically been considered as one of the greatest events in the championship, noted for its unrivalled, fast and flowing roads and spectacular scenery.

"There is still a small chance that we could be included on the 2018 calendar, but at this stage the WRC Promoter has said that the costs to venture to New Zealand are a major hurdle," Johnston said.

"We want to thank the generous support from a number of public and private sector stakeholders across New Zealand including Tauranga City Council, the New Zealand motorsport community and the general public for their tremendous support in what we believe was a compelling bid for the WRC to return to this country."

Notes by Rallye-info.com:

It seems a massive shame Rally NZ - as one of the undoubtedly most unique and most picturesque WRC events of all time - has little chance of returning. However new in connection with the information received from New Zealand today seems to confirm the long promised extension of the WRC calendar outside of Europe will not happen for the time being.

For a start we note there is no mention of China anywhere, even outside this Rally NZ info! China should have been part of the WRC in 2016. It was cancelled apparently for weather problems. Easy blame .... uups. China was given a break for 2017 to return stronger in 2018, but now there is no China in 2018, either?

It would have been good to combine Australia with NZ. This was one of the hopes of the Rally NZ organisers as well.

Well, Rally Australia used at least three completely different bases for their WRC event in the past few years. Rally NZ in turn would have been the return of a real classic, second to Safari only.

But all this is not the problem, as it seems now. I leave it at the Rally NZ organisers in the text above to explain why they won't return.

From a Rallye-info.com point of view it seems at the moment that for spectator safety Rally Poland is in jeopardy. But for this moment it looks like in 2018 Rally Poland may be replaced by another European event: a new rally in Croatia!

No offence to Croatia. It is supposed to be a mixed surface event - a real unique challenge only known to Catalunya so far in modern WRC. Still, NZ seems out the window for now, and this would have been a real classic event when the WRC promised to turn more global.