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Rally New Zealand organisers today said that it is unlikely that the event will return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar next year. This follows a series of failed attempts to introduce or revive non-European events, most recently in China. Sixteen non-European countries have been in the history of the WRC.  Thirteen of their events have failed, 12 having fallen out through inadequate organisation and one (New Zealand) was dropped against their wishes, reportedly by geographical remoteness. The New Zealand organisers have been warned that “a new event outside Europe will prove too challenging because of commercial considerations”. Plans for a future WRC Rally New Zealand have recently been restructured to match current organisational demands, with a proposed trial event waiting to be run in readiness for a return to World Rally Championship, though hopes this would happen in 2018 were always premature. Last year the FIA suggested the only possible changes to the WRC calendar could be a return to Turkey (later deferred on account of the unstable security in the region and outside Europe, anyway) and Croatia, to hold a gravel event in a country whose premier rally was run on asphalt. - Martin Holmes
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