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Outgoing Australian Rally Commission boss, and former Rally Australia clerk of course, Garry Connelly, says that Australia still has a chance of returning to the World Rally Championship, albeit if not until the 2008 season.
Speaking in his exclusive RallySport Magazine column, Connelly says that only some of the details discussed at the World Council meeting were released to the media.

“In the lead up to the meeting, the Executive of the WRC Commission met to discuss the calendar for the next three years.  Last year a decision was taken to charge candidate events a fee of 100,000 Euros to be observed in 2006.  Naturally, these events, having paid their money and run their events, were demanding that they be admitted into the championship - not surprising but perhaps considering there were six of them, a little ambitious you might think?” Connelly says.  

“Well, in fact not!  The WRC Commission felt that they had paid their money, they had conducted their events (some better than others) and that they should be given a chance,” he added.

Connelly says that it was decided that the six events would be added to the existing 16 events and that a rotational calendar would be created.  

“However NOT ALL events would be equal – some “traditional” events would not rotate.  Somehow new events like Japan and Spain ended up being treated the same as “traditional” events, whilst events with very strong reputations for organisation such as Mexico, Germany and Australia, were relegated to the same level as the candidate events.

“A draft calendar was created listing 16 events for 2007, excluding Australia.  The 2008 draft calendar included Australia.

“At the World Council meeting President Mosley (rightly in my view) remarked that he did not wish to have two classes of events.  It was therefore decided that a “free market” policy would apply and that all events (existing and candidate) would be part of a “pool” from which competitors would chose 16 events in which they would compete.  

“However when the media statement was released, it used only the first page of the original proposed rotational calendar of 16 events for 2007 with a note that other events were able to be added.  My understanding at the meeting was that Australia would be one of the events to be added.

“Following that release, the three manufacturer teams committed for 2007 met and decided they would all go to the same (16) events and that these would be those 16 specifically listed on the draft calendar.

“It is hoped the matter will be resolved and that a plan for the next three years can be agreed for submission to the next meeting of the World Council in late October.  We trust that common sense will prevail and that Australia will be part of that three year plan as it deserves to be,” Connelly added.

The change in venue for Rally Australia, from Western Australia to Queensland, is not expected to hamper the inclusion of the event on the 2008 WRC calendar. Likewise, a ‘trial’ event will not have to be run in Queensland.

"It will not need to, because Rally Australia is an established round," Connelly said. "The FIA allocates events to countries, not promoters.

"It is a similar situation to when the Formula One Grand Prix moved from Adelaide to Melbourne, or when Rally Italy moved from San Remo to Sardinia."

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