Takes a while for that one to sink in, doesn’t it. After Rally New Zealand announced their withdrawal from the World Rally Championship we were left with mixed feelings, ranging from “oh sure, it’s a long haul event, manufacturers are all stripped of cash and poor, besides it’s a small market so yeah” and “what the hell!?”. It was a shock, sure, but was it really a suprise? No, most likely not. The switching of calendar slots between Australia and New Zealand was a bad idea and it eventually forced Kiwis to jump ship, unable to secure solid backing for the event. Because, you know, one year there is a rally, the next it’s gone but oops here it is again one year after that.
Acropolis Rally is also out. Rally of gods, the classic, even though its character changed over the years, it still was a traditional Greek event, with hot temperatures, enthusiastic spectators and extremely demanding stages. But, in order to line the pockets of bankers, elite and the chosen few with even more cold, hard cash world decided to declare global financial crisis few years ago. Greece was and still is heavily affected by this crisis and other issues and money is, no doubt, a single most prominent problem behind the removal of the event from calendar.
Unless there are other agendas at play here. If they are, well played, it looks all nice and reasonable so far. Whether Greece was unable to play and pay what needs to be payed to the FIA, or whether the organizers were unable to close the financial structure, Acropolis Rally is history. Instead of Greece, WRC caravan will next year hit Poland, with an interesting asterisk marked in the FIA press release, stating that it will be “multiple country event”. Which countries? I haz no ideaz. Czech Republic, Slovakia, Baltics…?
More or less, Poland was a no brainer – big country, strategically positioned within reach of many other countries, huge and I mean bloody HUGE rally fanbase. And also Robert Kubica, even though his 2014 is still unknown. Or is it?
It is sad WRC had to lose two iconic events, it’s sad that it will all be blamed on money and global crisis and whatnot, it’s sad that we still have no effin idea about the 2014 with regards to media and promotion initiatives. It is also sad that WRC cannot afford to have both Greece and Poland in calendar, but also Australia and New Zealand. And Japan. Russia or China too. We’re still, it seems, stuck in this savings stand-by mode, firmly anchored in Europe for most of the events, sitting and hoping for better times.
All while Formula 1 enjoys a mind-blowingly healthy (or sick) 22 race calendar. Go Bernie!
WRC 2014 calendar
19 January Rallye Monte Carlo
09 February Rally Sweden
09 March Rally Mexico
06 April Rally de Portugal
11 May Rally Argentina
01 June Rally d’Italia
29 June Rally Poland (multi-country event)
03 August Rally Finland
24 August Rallye Deutschland
14 September Rally Australia
05 October Rallye de France
26 October Rally de España
16 November Rally of Great Britain