OK, so Sebastien Loeb is retired now and nobody cares anymore for the French round of the Championship, so the local government and authorities had no other choice but to withdraw their support for the Alsace based event? No, not really, even though I suppose Loeb being a local played some part in the past. The reasons for the current drama are a bit more serious than that. Rallye de France is homeless as of today, FFSA confirmed. The support of local communities ran dry and FFSA announced that this year’s edition of Rallye de France will no longer be held in Alsace, which is nothing to cry about, really. FFSA released some numbers as well, claiming that RdF brought over 20 million € “in economic impact” (merci Google translate) to locals each year with over 400.000 people visiting the region during the WRC event. But with changes to local financing on state level it seems Alsace is no longer interested in World Rally Championship.
To that I have a solution. If event is to be based in the birthplace of a current WRC champion, then why don’t we just move Rallye de France from Strassbourg to Gap, Sebastien Ogier’s hometown? Oh wait… Well, Rallye de France would not mind, because sharing character is what they did with Deutschland Rally for years, both throwing endless vineyards and narrow twisty roads at WRC crews.
Of course, it’s not nice when things like this happen. It’s even worse when it happens right before the start of the new season. Because you would think all WRC events have a rock solid foundations and nothing can harm them, so that’s why they’re part of the Championship. And just as you’re saying that to a potential series or team investor, news come up of an event losing its home. Please, please, fix this.
Perhaps it’s not all bad news after all, though. Maybe Rallye de France will be able to find a new home and a new character. The one they deserve, as a country with such a rich history of rallying. I hope FIA will play along nicely and support organizers during their search for new home. And once they find it, slam them with a fine, because order must be maintained.
Adopt Rallye de France, someone.