You see, this is what I’m talking about, this kind of approach towards the general public, fans and media. I have no doubt that the FIA and WRC Promoter will eventually reveal what’s in store for next year as far as WRC is concerned, but for now we have to rely on what selected media can reveal. So we’ve heard something about the new formula to be used next year for the final special stage of each event and we also learned about the plans to introduce so called pit stops or mandatory (?) tyre changes within the stage(s). Again, these news did not come from FIA or WRC Promoter, at least not officially, but since nobody denied the stories, we can safely assume they’re true. When is the next piece of the WRC 2015 puzzle schedule to “leak” and make its way to the public I can’t tell, but let’s hope it won’t take long before we hear something official from either FIA or WRC Promoter.
WRC may still be working on many details surrounding its future, but European Rally Championship, promoted by Eurosport Events, recently unveiled upcoming changes concerning 2015 and beyond. The series will consist of 10 rounds with the host of other changes set to reduce the costs and encourage competition. Rallies will be shorter and crews will have less tyres at their disposal. New categories are based on car classes and depending on the category will have either eight or six best scores counted for the final season classification. Group N and R4 cars will compete in the ERC2 category, 2WD cars will slot into ERC3 while ERC Junior series has been renamed to Junior ERC, features six events and four top scores. The top category is called ERC and it is made of R5, RRC and S2000 cars. All categories will receive respective awards for drivers, co-drivers and teams.
Out of ten events, five were officially confirmed for next year (see the list below) while Corsica is pending confirmation. Acropolis Rally is missing from the list, Circuit of Ireland and Rallye Açores as well. Regarding removed sentence – my reading comprehension hit the all time low when I copy-pasted the list of events without even looking what the list is about. Thank you Roger for letting me know just how stupid this turned out to be. Total stage length on each event will not exceed 220 kilometers, but this is negotiable, according to the official news bit. FIA’s Rally Commission is scheduled to discuss these changes in August (and needless to say, we hope to hear more about WRC in the meantime!).
Jean-Bapitste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Adapting the ERC to the current market conditions but at the same time maintaining the championship’s high standards is the priority of Eurosport Events Ltd. From engaging all ERC stakeholders through regular meetings, the clear message we have received is to consolidate the number of rounds and make the ERC more affordable for those taking part.
“The changes and cost-cutting measures proposed to the last FIA Rally Commission should be welcomed by drivers and teams, while Eurosport Events Ltd will maintain its promotional efforts in the ERC. Eurosport Events Ltd will also try to introduce prize money for independent teams to encourage a high number of entrants, including R5 customers. With four different R5 cars on the market next year, we expect serious competition ahead in the ERC as a stepping-stone to the WRC.”
Remaining ERC rounds in 2014
Geko Ypres Rally (Belgium), 19-21 June
auto24 Rally Estonia, 17-19 July
Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic), 29-31 August
Cyprus Rally, 19-21 September
Rallye International du Valais (Switzerland), 23-25 October
Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse (France), 6-8 November*
*Subject to the signing of event promoter agreement