WRC promoter’s Oliver Ciesla is set to stand down from his position this year, leaving the series in a promising position, but then the COVID-19 pandemic came and Ciesla has been left to clean up the current season and plan the calendar for 2021.
There have been many issues for the WRC promoter and the FIA, with only six of the 14 rounds remaining on the calendar; three of the rounds completed and three rounds remaining in the autumn. The other eight events have been cancelled with Chile’s early drop-out for political reasons and the remainder due to the current pandemic.
Meanwhile, Rally Italia Sardegna is working for a new date this autumn and Ciesla explained in an interview with the Swedish broadcaster SVT he said that they are looking at other alternatives. This is where they think of previous FIA European Championship round or observation competitions that have been candidates for a WRC round earlier.
“We are looking in all possible options. We see which are the available weekends and how much time do we need to move from one location to another. The logistics is quite a limiting factor in our championship and the consequence of that is that particularly we are looking for alternatives in Europe, and another aspect that we – but particularly the FIA, which kindly shows flexibility with the format at this time – need to make sure of is the safety standards are at the world championship levels.” Ciesla said.
The plan is to save the 2020 WRC season with at least seven rounds needed to complete the championship, which could be arranged if new events can be found in Europe. Security and logistics are the most important thing and one of the hottest alternatives is Estonia and the new Rally Dirtfish.
Ciesla also mentioned in the interview with that he has discussions with several organisers, including the Estonian organiser with a the popular event, an exciting road network and dedicated audience. The event is now scheduled for 7-8 August, whether it will be the WRC eventy or at a later date remains to be seen.
“Safety is remaining a high target and this limits the options quite a bit. If you take away the logistics aspect to get to a point where it’s maybe better in Europe to be on the mainland than an island, this narrows the opportunity down to four or five events. These can be events gathered experience from being part of the European championship now and in the past or events that have already been in contact with us and we were looking to observe them as candidate rallies.”
“There are already quite a number of events that we already identified and we are already in talks with all of them to see as quickly as possible what is possible.”