Promotional rights to the FIA European Rally Championship have been awarded to WRC Promoter. The multi-year agreement, announced on Thursday, starts in 2022. As a result, WRC Promoter now has a large set of projects on its plate. The European Rally Championship becomes the promoters fourth FIA series. The Munich-based company has held rights to the FIA World Rally Championship since 2013 and back in February, took on both the FIA World Rallycross and FIA European Rallycross Championships. The ERC’s support series will all be included in the new agreement, ratified at the World Motorsport Council in Monaco.
This announcement brings international rallying into greater synergy. Back in March, the FIA’s announced a five-tier pyramid structure for rallying. At its peak, the Hybrid Powered Rally 1 vehicles in the WRC. The next step down is The WRC support categories and the European Rally Championship itself.
This structure gives the ERC a position of paramount importance in the Rallying pyramid. Not only is the ERC a coveted title, but it is now firmly entrenched as a definitive stepping stone to WRC glory for aspiring drivers. This will inform how WRC Promoter chooses to promote both the ERC and WRC, according to WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel;
“The FIA has entrusted the group with the commercial rights for another major championship. Having built a strong track record in promoting the WRC during the last nine seasons, we’re in a perfect position to add the ERC to our portfolio,” Siebel added.
“We have a high level of organisational, promotional and broadcast experience in our team and look forward with great confidence to working alongside the FIA to develop the ERC as an integral part of the Rally Pyramid.
“We see strong growth potential in ERC, focused around Europe’s key markets. Our goal is to further cultivate its own identity, whilst at the same time ensuring it fits hand and glove with the WRC’s structure.”
FIA Secretary General for Sport, Peter Bayer, had this to say;
“I’m delighted that the FIA and WRC Promoter have agreed on the promotion of the FIA European Rally Championship with a shared vision.
“This new structure with a single promoter for the World and European-level series will genuinely strengthen the FIA Rally Pyramid, creating bridges between the two championships and a clear career path for the drivers. WRC Promoter will bring their strong experience to the European tier and I’m confident the series will thrive.
“I would also like to thank Eurosport Events, Andrew Georgiou and his team for the significant and excellent contribution to the ERC over the years. The relationship will continue with them staying on board within the FIA family as the promoter of several circuit-based competitions.”
There is confidence from both the FIA and WRC Promoter that this new venture will see the European Rally Championship go from strength to strength. As well as this, this move looks to strengthen the ERC’s standing on the rallying pyramid. The intention from the FIA and WRC Promoter to make the ERC a deliberate pathway to the WRC is sound in logic. Time will tell how the move works out in practice.