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Rally New Zealand organisers are pushing hard for a return to the World Rally Championship in 2022, and believe a Down Under double-header is a realistic option.
The rally's chairman, Peter Johnston, says the event is already in active discussions with the WRC Promoter.
“We looked at the possibility of being on the 2021 calendar, but we couldn’t see it happening. We kind of knew Australia weren’t likely to feature on the calendar also and, overall, we just felt that a New Zealand rally in 2021 was just too soon," Johnston told Velocity News.
“The world needs to heal, and we don’t see the international borders opening up for at least eight months. If we were to have run in 2021 then we would have brought in around 5000 international visitors. So, we made a call that it was unrealistic to go ahead in 2021 because of the government restrictions.”
Rally New Zealand was scheduled to run in September 2020 but was cancelled because of COVID-19. Rally Australia was then added to the 2021 WRC schedule, but was then removed when the calendar was announced last weekend.
Despite the dumping of both New Zealand and Australia for next year, Johnston says he sees no reason why the two events cannot feature together on the 2022 schedule.
“We are very confident that we can get the WRC back in 2022. Nothing is signed yet, but our sponsors have stuck with us, and together we are all going for the year.
“We see only about three offshore [outside Europe] events happening again in 2022 so there is no reason why we and Australia can’t be on that calendar together.”
There has been no announcement about where the next edition of Rally Australia will be held, although it is widely believed that Bathurst will host the rally.
Coffs Harbour hosted Rally Australia in 2011, and then from 2013 until 2019.
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