First of all, this is just a list of events which are set to remain in the calendar next year, subject to WMSC approval, so nothing is set in stone just yet. The list consists of Monte Carlo, Sweden, Argentina, Finland, Australia, Italy, Poland, Mexico and Spain. Some very big names are missing from the list, which is also an indication that this definitely is not a done deal nor that we should consider this to be anything more than a work in progress kind of document. However, these 9 events are scheduled to remain in calendar due to multi-year deals with WRC Promoter, but the final call belongs to the FIA. Translated, as far as these nine events are concerned, we can (almost) safely assume they’ll appear in the final version of the 2016 WRC calendar later this year. Actually, this is not about the events that are mentioned in this list, it’s more about the ones missing from it. Some of those are proper giants of the sport, such as Wales Rally GB and Rally Portugal, but the other two are also big ones – Rally Deutschland and Rallye de France.
According to WRC Promoter, they released this “draft” version of 2016 calendar in order to boost promotional efforts for each event, but that’s not the only benefit – fans, media, even sponsors will appreciate solid and early information, because our season indeed starts early, in January, so when we say 2016 we literally mean very early on. There is no word on why some of the events are missing from the list, but at the same time it’s exciting to hear Promoters are talking to new candidate events, some of which may end up in next year’s calendar. Here’s when things become a bit more foggy, because, according to WRC Promoter, they want to keep the same number of events in the calendar for next year, possibly meaning one of the missing four would have to go. Now I’m not saying it will be France, but it will be France, even though I sincerely hope they can work their way out of the current crisis, now they’re back on Corsica for this year’s edition of Rallye de France.
Anyway, we should know more in the coming months, for all I know, and I admit that’s not much at all, this could just be a list of early events, pushed through FIA’s Rallies Commission as soon as possible for the reasons mentioned above. It’s possible we could lose one or more events from the current calendar, but at the moment we just don’t have any solid information. Let’s add that two events, Monte and Sweden, got their dates in already, so Monte Carlo will run from 21 to 24 January and Sweden is set to start on 12 February.
Oh, by the way, according to a very brief Twitter “poll”, WRC should bring Kenya, New Zealand, Greece, USA and Ireland into the series. How about that?