Belgium "in negotiations" for maiden WRC event in 2020

The organiser of the Ypres Rally has announced that it has begun negotiations to host what could be Belgium’s first ever World Rally Championship event.

Belgium "in negotiations" for maiden WRC event in 2020

The WRC has been hit by a string of cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving just five rallies remaining on the schedule - on top of the three events that were completed before the outbreak.

This has forced the championship to evaluate rallies that were not originally on the 2020 calendar, with the Latvia ERC round's organiser RA Events revealing on Monday that it has already held "first round of talks" with the WRC Promoter.

Now, Ypres Rally, which features on both the Belgian and the British Rally Championship calendars, has joined the race to secure a spot on the depleted WRC schedule.

Event's organiser Club Superstage revealed that it has been approached by the FIA, and that it has subsequently conducted preliminary talks with the City of Ypres about the possibility of hosting a WRC event. A decision is expected soon.

Should the plans come to fruition, the maiden Belgian WRC round at Ypres will be held on October 1-4.

The exact route of the rally is yet to be finalised, but a spokesperson from Club Superstage confirmed that it intends to run a stage at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit that is located 280km to the east of Ypres.

"It is of course a great honour that we are being considered for the WRC 2020," said Jan Huyghe of the organising committee.

"We are honoured that the FIA asked us, and from that moment, Club Superstage accelerated to formulate a new timing, to draw the special stages, to approach the City of Ypres, the federation and other authorities, etc.

"The project was well received by the authorities, the City of Ypres, who have rally-sport in their genes, and from our partners.

'We have drawn up a competition that has a Belgian character, in which we have two icons of Belgian motorsport, where Ypres and Spa-Francorchamps can unite with each other.

"But let's be clear: nothing has been decided yet. Club Superstage is currently negotiating with the FIA and the WRC Promoter and soon the decision will be made."

Amid interest from new countries, the WRC has set up a task force with the FIA to evaluate regional and European events and bring them up to world championship standards.

Speaking at the FIA eConference 2020, WRC Promoter's event director Simon Larkin said: "Because of this growth in the WRC for the last couple of years there's been a joint task force between FIA and WRC Promoter and using highly experienced officials from the WRC world."

"And that means we already have a foundation to work with these potential new events to immediately bring them up to a level that's acceptable to the FIA to allow us to restart. 

"And this is allowing us with confidence, together with the FIA/WRC management, to try to bring new events in, and to work with our existing scheduled events to try and have a bit of a COVID-safe return to the championship. 

"This is this is a, an intense process that we're going through now and we hope to have a very positive response for everyone very soon."

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

shares
comments
Meeke could get a career lifeline in form of Pirelli role

Previous article

Meeke could get a career lifeline in form of Pirelli role

Next article

WRC unveils draft calendar for 2021 season

WRC unveils draft calendar for 2021 season
Load comments
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Prime

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Prime

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia Prime

How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Prime

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Prime

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener.

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Prime

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021