The Motor Sports Association has approved a proposal from the MSA British Rally Championship and the MSA Country Rally Championships to create a new sporting structure and working partnership that will deliver greater benefit for the growth and development of UK rallying.
"A working group, consisting of one representative from each of the five championships, has committed to work towards the future development and sustainability of UK stage rallying. Initiatives will include a reduction in the sport's environmental impact, the evolution of a recognisable sporting structure, a co-ordinated strategy for the development of junior drivers and the introduction of common policies and sporting regulations," read a statement to the media.
"The MSA has facilitated this strategy by realigning the contracts for all the Championships, providing organisers with the stability of a new five year term from January 2010.
"A defined sporting structure is already beginning to take shape, with each country Championship endeavouring to integrate one of their rounds within the British Rally Championship.
"As required by the new MSA contracts, each championship must implement a recognised junior driver development programme in line with the framework established by the MSA Academy structure.
"As a result of this partnership, each country championship will set a maximum junior age of 23 years, thus allowing progression to the BRC where the junior limit is set at 26 years. This in turn will allow a minimum of three years at each level, while still providing drivers with an opportunity to move on to the IRC and J-WRC championships.
"The new structure will also allow the implementation of common environmental developments that will include the mandatory use of mud flaps and the carriage of environmental spillage kits in all vehicles taking part in MSA Country or British Rally Championship events."
"We are delighted that the Championship organisers have come together with a common interest to share policy and initiatives," added Colin Hilton, MSA chief executive. "It establishes the important role played by the country championships in the structure of UK rallying and their relationship with the BRC, which is the pinnacle of our domestic sport. We are pleased to support this move and look forward to continuing to work with the organisers to make it a success."