Rally Portugal – An important weekend for the future of the WRC

After more than 12 months of discussions, meetings and other meetings, the World Rally Championship should leave Portugal with a long-term vision in different areas. While the technical regulations should soon be revealed, the promotion aspect should open up perspectives.  

Published on 10/05/2024 à 16:56

Loïc ROCCI

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Rally Portugal – An important weekend for the future of the WRC

Will the 2024 Rally of Portugal remain as the event where the WRC began its recovery? (Photo: Rally Portugal)

As has unfortunately been the case for several rounds and this started more than a year ago, the atmosphere within the small family of WRC is not very happy. Whoever they talk to, whether it comes from the promoter, the FIA, a team or even the press, no one seems happy in this discipline. During the rally of Portugal 2023, the first calls for change had been heard and certain ideas had already emerged without any concrete results. Twelve months later, it appears that the second most important automobile competition after the F1 still doesn't know which foot to dance on. However, things should finally change this weekend.

The future concerns two areas. They are both very different, but at the same time completely related. On the one hand there is the promotion aspect and on the other the technical regulations.

For the latter, the vagueness remains. Announcements were made during the February World Council. They achieved the feat of achieving unanimous support against them. For once, all three teams agree to push them back. As the date approaches, it is very complicated to know what the content of the roadmap that will be presented during the next World Council on June 11 will be. The FIA ​​and the hastily created task force to save the WRC can they recognize that the ideas developed were not good and that it is better not to change anything? Will the choice be made to override the teams' reluctance, with the consequences that this could entail? In Porto, the three team directors have been very busy. Between the interviews and the meetings in more or less reduced numbers, they reaffirmed their desire to see the history of Rally1 continue in 2025 and 2026. At the same time, they all pushed strongly for the regulations to be quickly announced for 2027. Will they be heard? Throughout this period, the question of promotion was also at the center of discussions.

For several months, the WRC promoter has been under fire from criticism. If there are elements to change in the way of covering events and even in the content of what is proposed, it is wrong to say that everything is bad. Those responsible for this important aspect recognize that there are things to improve. This will be the subject of a crucial meeting on Saturday morning during which the communication plan for the coming months (years?) will be revealed. Will it meet with the support of the teams? It is essential that a positive dynamic finally kicks in to bring all parties on board so that the WRC gets back on track and ultimately quickly attracts new competitors.

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Loïc ROCCI

Journalist specializing in rallying past, present and future... and with a southern accent

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