The FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) will undergo major changes in 2019 in an attempt to cap costs, and in an even bigger surprise, the Rally of Tasmania and Victoria's Eureka Rally have been included in an extended eight-round 2019 calendar.
The new format will see the 2019 championship decided at a ‘grand’ final, expected to be the India Rally (30 Nov - 1 Dec), according to an official APRC release today.
For a competitor to qualify for the final they must enter any two APRC ‘Cup’ events in the Pacific or Asia, events that will have the additional status of being rounds of either the FIA APRC Pacific Cup or the FIA APRC Asia Cup.
FIA APRC Working Group President Vicky Chandhok is very pleased with the prospects for the future.
“We're getting there! We've organised a very radical change which is a new and vibrant format for the FIA APRC Rally Championship.
"These are exciting times with Indonesia coming back into the APRC, and Australia adding their name to the list of events,” he said.
There will be several rule changes for the FIA regional championships, not just the APRC.
"The format of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship will be changed in 2019 to help competitors with logistics and add value to the title," and FIA press release stated.
"Two APRC Cups, organised into smaller territories, will be held as qualifiers for a final.
It is hoped the new format brings the APRC back to its glory days. Photo:APRC
"The APRC Asia and Pacific Cups for Drivers and Co-drivers will be held over a minimum of three events and all results will be taken into account.
"After participation in two rallies in an APRC Cup, drivers will automatically qualify for the final, which will be alternately hosted in a different Asia or Pacific country each year," the release continued.
In 2019, the final will be hosted at the India Rally from November 29 to December 1. India returns to the championship, as does the Indonesian round (Rally of Medan).
New Zealand will host two events, with the Otago Rally a surprise addition to the existing Whangarei event.
The provisional 2019 APRC calendar is:
1. Otago Rally (NZ), April 12-14 - Pacific Cup
2. Whangarei Rally (NZ), May 3-5 - Pacific Cup
3. Rally Tasmania (AUS), June 21-23 - Pacific Cup
4. Rally of Medan (INDONESIA), July 5-7 - Asia Cup
5. Rally of Johor (MALAYSIA), August 2-4 - Asia Cup
6. Eureka Rally (AUS), August 23-25 - Pacific Cup
7. Rally Hokkaido (JAP), September 20-22 - Asia Cup
8. China Rally Longyou, October 25-27 - Asia Cup
Final: India Rally, Nov 29 - Dec 1
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