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Despite the announcement by the World Rally Commission that Rally Australia will not be included in the 2007 World Rally Championship, there may be a little light at the end of the tunnel.

Speaking to RallySport Magazine from Paris immediately after the meeting, ARCom Chairman, Garry Connelly, said that he was confident that Australia could be included in the 2007 calendar.

According to Connelly the WRC Commission was keen to introduce the rotational system whereby certain events would be included in the WRC for two out of every three years and which would allow the inclusion of  WRC-candidate events. However this suggestion was unpopular amongst delegates at the meeting, and a draft list of 16 events that did not include Australia, was approved.

“I am reasonably confident that Australia could be granted a place on the calendar next year despite the fact that we are not on the draft list,” Connelly exclusively told RallySport Magazine.

“The World Motor Sport Council have indicated that they are prepared to consider the inclusion of further events to the 2007 calendar, and I believe that Rally Australia could be one of those events,” he added.  

Connelly said that the World Motor Sport Council meeting held on July 5, where the matter was discussed, was a very tense one that was never going to appease all those who have applied for 2007 dates.

One thing in Rally Australia’s favour is that the WRC Commission are reported to be considering insisting that teams will need to compete in a certain number of events outside Europe, and if that were to be the case, there is a distinct possibility that Rally Australia could be slotted into the calendar two weeks after Rally New Zealand, thereby fulfilling the requirement by entering the two rounds within two weeks.

Asked if Rally Australia’s omission had anything to do with the postponed announcement of the new  location of Rally Australia on the east coast after 2006, Connolly said he did not believe so.

Despite public opinion suggesting that the east coast would be the new home of Rally Australia, no suggestion of the state or the exact location has been forthcoming even though an announcement was thought to have been imminent as early as last Easter.

One positive aspect that came from the meeting was the appointment of Garry Connelly to the World Motor Sport Council, replacing the late John Large, who died recently. New Zealand’s Morrie Chandler was appointed President of the WRC Commission, replacing stand-in President, Shekha Mehta, who also died several months ago.

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