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Ford's number two driver, Mikko Hirvonen, has joined the list of drivers disappinted that Australia has been left off the World Rally Championship calendar for 2007. 

"I am definitely not going to miss Turkey and Cyprus [in 2007], they are quite rough rallies and they are a little bit too expensive for the teams. It is a shame though to lose Australia, it was a really nice rally and hopefully it will come back later on," Hirvonen said at the recent Rally Day in the UK.

"Then again with these new rallies I think it is very interesting, completely new rallies again and I think it is good to have another snow rally in the championship and Ireland is going to be a completely different tarmac rally."

While many have shown their disappointment at the loss of Rally Australia, including Subaru's Chris Atkinson, the event has little chance of being reinstated to the championship next year. The door has been left open for the event, with other rallies still a chance to be added to the current 16 event calendar, but even if it was given a reprieve, the major teams have said that they wouldn't support any events outside the current 16.

The recent announcement of a new tarmac rally in Queensland has also thrown a spanner in the works of any chance the event had. It was expected that the event would move from Western Australia to the sunshine state next year, but that nows seems in serious doubt, as does the long-term future of the rally and, ultimately, Australia's chances of regaining a round of the premier rally series.

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